Senate Abortion Expansion Saga Continues

Last week’s Albany Update reported on State Senate Democrats’ attempts to force floor votes on abortion expansion and on an abortion pill insurance mandate.

We’d love to be able to say that this battle is over, but it isn’t.

Over the past week, Senate Democrats continued their efforts to force votes on these horrendous bills. On Tuesday, June 5, with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul presiding over the chamber, Senate Democrats attempted to attach abortion expansion legislation to an unrelated bill. When Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) attempted to speak on the abortion expansion bill, Lt. Gov. Hochul ruled that she was allowed to do so. Senate Republicans objected, contending that the Lieutenant Governor’s ruling violated Senate rules. The ensuing dispute resulted in more Senate gridlock; no further legislation passed the Senate that day.

Reports indicate that Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) and Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) met together on Wednesday, June 6. Lt. Gov. Hochul did not preside over the Senate that day, and Senate Democrats offered both the Reproductive Health Act (abortion expansion) and the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (abortion pill insurance mandate) as hostile amendments. Sen. Krueger was given an opportunity to speak about abortion expansion. Each amendment was ruled “not germane”—in other words, not relevant—to the bill to which Democrats sought to attach it. Senate Democrats challenged each ruling, but their challenges were overruled in party-line votes. For the rest of the week, Senate proceedings were uneventful; however, Leader Stewart Cousins has left the door open to another attempt at passing abortion expansion legislation this month.

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms thanks Senate Republicans for continuing to stand firm against abortion expansion.

UPDATE: On Thursday, June 21, in the wee hours of the morning, the New York State Senate adjourned. That adjournment marked the end of the 2018 regular legislative session in Albany. Thankfully, Senate Republicans were able to hold the line and prevent a forced vote on abortion expansion.