When Governor Cuomo first introduced his abortion expansion bill in 2013, he and his allies in the abortion industry tried to convince New York voters that it was impossible to pass pay equity or workplace discrimination legislation without expanding late term abortion. Disgraced former Assembly leader Sheldon Silver even went so far as to suggest that to pass nine provisions without the tenth abortion expansion provision would be tantamount to treating women as 9/10ths citizens.
Well, Governor Cuomo and his disgraced friend must be shocked to learn that sensible legislators in the Assembly have found a way to pass sensible legislation without aborting any babies.
The workplace discrimination provision, for example, which was originally part of the Women’s Equality Act package pushed by Governor Cuomo, has managed to pass separately without the inclusion of the late term abortion plank, allowing women job security without fear of discrimination.
Legislation passed by the New York Assembly now prohibits workplace discrimination against mothers based on family status. Moms can no longer be rejected because of their children and are protected from bias at their jobs including hiring, promotion, and pay equality. Supporters of the bill say pregnant women and specifically single moms are less likely to be considered for hiring and promotion and are frequently offered lower pay than their male peers.
Another provision, which was not part of the WEA, expands health coverage for pregnant women. By making pregnancy a qualifying event for women to sign up for health insurance, uninsured new mothers will be more likely to be able to receive medical care as early as their first trimester. Even under the Affordable Care Act, pregnancy was not a qualifying event. New York will lead the nation in adding pregnancy to a list including birth of a child, marriage, divorce, adoption, leaving incarceration and becoming a U.S. citizen.
The bill follows a report from the comptroller highlighting the problems many pregnant women face without insurance. Because of the prohibitive costs and the laws regarding qualifying life events for enrollment, many women are waiting far too long to receive medical care during pregnancy. Without access to early insurance, nearly 8% of New York mothers receive late or no prenatal care before the birth of their children. This is especially true of young teen mothers at nearly 16%.
This new provision, which was not part of the bill, in my opinion puts the finishing touches on the dismantling of the farce that was the Women’s Equality Act, which led to the farce of the Women’s Equality Party. At the time of Silver’s comment that pro-life New Yorkers like you and me considered women only nine-tenths citizens because we didn’t support the abortion expansion plank, I commented that the quantity of provisions in the WEA was totally arbitrary. Surely there was an 11th point that could be added to foster women’s equality. Well, with this new bill allowing pregnant women to enroll in health insurance, we have proven that Shelly Silver, Governor Cuomo, and their friends at NARAL and PP considered women to be 10/11 citizens when they crafted the WEA.
Alternatively, dropping the abortion expansion provision and adding this new bill, we are back at 10 provisions we can support. So maybe Shelly Silver was right. Or maybe now we can put the matter to rest: Gov. Cuomo and friends care more about their friends in the abortion industry than they do about New York women.
Thankfully, with new leadership came good sense. Women in New York are better off.
This is progress.