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Female State Lawmakers Divided On Insisting On Abortion Provision In Women's Equality Agenda

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Female state lawmakers are increasingly more divided over whether to insist on an abortion provision in Governor Andrew Cuomo's women's equality agenda, and the lack of consensus seems to be making it less likely anything will get done. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

When Governor Andrew Cuomo's 10-point women's equality agenda failed in the legislature, there was plenty of blame to go around.

The Assembly majority blamed the state Senate for passing only nine of 10 points, and the Senate majority blamed the Assembly for passing all 10, including a controversial abortion provision that was dead on arrival in the senate.

"We have to get that reconciled and work through some issues," Cuomo said Thursday. "There are a number of people in the Assembly who are disappointed that choice didn't pass, but at the end of the day, we have to get the nine that did pass implemented."

Republicans agree with Cuomo.

"I think it's being very short-sighted," said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island. "We can't pass all 10 bills because there are not votes in the Senate to do so, then let's at least pass the nine bills that deal with human trafficking, that deal with child prostitution, that deal with sexual harassment. Things we all agree on."

Democratic Assembly members are standing firm. Recently, an icon was added to the New York State Assembly's official website that links to a webpage with a video highlighting the Assembly's passage of all 10 points.

"Women should have the right to control their body," Assemblywoman Deborah Glick of Manhattan says in the video. "If they don't have that right, no other rights matter."

Some Democratic Assemblywomen NY1 spoke with, though, didn't even know about the video or when it was posted.

Insiders said part of the problem is that there is no single women's caucus speaking with one voice. For example, there is a women's issues committee in the Assembly with just four members, a legislative women's caucus with members from both houses and both parties, and a group called the New York State Bipartisan Pro-Choice Legislative Caucus, which boasts 88 members.

The different factions, and their lack of consensus on how to proceed, could prevent any meaningful equality legislation from passing.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the website is part of their ongoing effort to educate the public about the Assembly's position on the Women's Equality Act and the members' emphasis on getting all 10 points passed.

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