Rep. Slaughter Invokes Name of Two Pro-Lifers to Support New York Pro-Abortion Bill

Fred Lucas | June 12, 2013 | 11:29am EDT
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Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.)

( – Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) invoked the name of Susan B. Anthony, an icon in the pro-life movement, to support a sweeping pro-abortion proposal in the New York state legislature.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing to codify the Roe v. Wade into state law, which would guarantee that abortion is legal in the state even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the 1974 decision. The 10-point bill, named the “Women’s Equality Act,” tackles other issues such as equal pay and anti-discrimination measures.

“Since the time of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, New York has been a national leader for women’s equality and fairness,” Slaughter said in a statement last week. “Leaders on women’s rights at the federal level need good partners at the state level, and I'm proud of the package Governor Cuomo has outlined to improve women’s rights throughout our great state.”

Susan B. Anthony List, which raises money for and endorses pro-life candidates, identifies both Anthony and Stanton as early suffragists, who together founded the National Women Suffrage Association.

Susan B. Anthony wrote in a July 18, 1869 editorial for The Revolution, the newspaper of the National Women Suffrage Association, “Guilty? Yes. No matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh, thrice guilty is he who... drove her to the desperation which impelled her to the crime!”

Cuomo’s proposal, submitted to the New York state legislature, has 10 points, one of which said, “Protect a Woman’s Freedom of Choice.”

The governor’s press release said, “This bill would codify existing Supreme Court law to protect a woman’s right to obtain an abortion prior to viability, or when necessary to protect her life or health. The law will ensure that New York’s laws are consistent with the law of the land. Currently, New York State’s law that protects a woman’s freedom of choice is outdated and does not conform to protections outlined in Roe v. Wade and current state practice.”

Further, Stanton, another suffragist who Slaughter referred to, also expressed pro-life views.

“When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit,” Stanton wrote in an Oct. 16, 1873 letter.

In a statement, Cuomo suggested his proposal was in keeping with New York’s tradition on women’s rights.

“In 1848, the women’s suffrage movement began in America at the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Since then, New York has been at the forefront of important social and legal movements that have advanced the equal treatment of all people. Over the years, however, New York has fallen behind in its role as a progressive leader on women’s rights. The Women’s Equality Act, which I introduced today, is designed to address gender inequality in our communities, and to restore New York as a leader in women’s rights.”

The bill also would “stop pregnancy discrimination, by requiring employers provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees; prohibit landlords from discriminating against tenants getting public housing vouchers (women account for 76 percent of Section 8 recipients, according to the New York governor’s office); require pay equity; stop sexual harassment in all workplaces; allow for the recovery of attorneys’ fees in employment and credit and lending cases; strengthen human trafficking laws; end family status discrimination; stop housing discrimination for victims of domestic violence; and protect victims of domestic violence by strengthening order-of-protection law.

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