Candidates for the New York state Senate rallied in front of the Nassau County Legislature Friday afternoon in support of the Reproductive Health Act.
“On November 6th, reproductive health is on the ballot,” Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund PAC, said. “We need to ensure that reproductive freedom is protected in New York.”
Senate candidates present at the rally included John Brooks, current democratic senator of New York’s eighth District, and democratic challengers Monica Martinez for the third District, Kathleen Cleary for the second District and Jim Gaughran for the fifth District.
Anna Kaplan, who is opposing incumbent Elaine Phillips for the seventh District, was slated to speak at the event but was not present.
“The appointment and seating of Judge Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court has really honed in for people how important it is that we enshrine protections for abortion rights in our state code,” Miller said.
Miller and the reproductive health institute expressed confidence in the candidates present at the rally for their support of the RHA, which has failed to pass in the state Senate, where Republicans hold a one-seat majority.
Miller directly called out Phillips, among others, for her lack of action moving the bill forward.
“Elaine Phillips has been a part of the problem,” Miller said. In a previous interview with Blank Slate Media, Phillips said she was “pro-choice,” but said that a medical doctor should have to be involved in carrying out abortions, which the RHA does not require. The current state law names medical doctors as abortion providers.
New York’s current abortion law was written and passed in 1970, three years before the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortions.
The RHA, a part of Senate Bill S2796, would create a new section of the Public Health Law to regulate abortion. The bill would also expand the qualifications for those who can provide abortions to other qualified medical professionals.
Brette McSweeney, president of Eleanor’s Legacy, said that senators not supporting the bill “are holding New York state back.”
“We have to be able to trust our elected officials to do what is in our best interest,” McSweeney said. “And these are candidates we can trust to move this forward.”
Eleanor’s Legacy recruits, trains and funds Democratic women in New York state who favor abortion rights.
McSweeney also cited a research study conducted by the NIRH that says “New York is a pro-choice state,” citing 73 percent of residents surveyed identified as “pro-choice.”
“Time and time again our senators go to Albany and fail the states’ women and girls,” McSweeney said.
Assemblyman Chuck Lavine of the 13th District spoke briefly of the example that New York sets when the state moves forward on legislation.
“We must stand strongly in this act,” Lavine said, “as the federal government continues to threaten certain rights.”