While the state Senate last week separated out Gov. Cuomo’s abortion expansion proposal from a broader “Women’s Equality” measure – allowing senators to support the positive provisions of that bill while rejecting the governor’s pro-abortion extremism – the state Assembly voted to approve the entire bill, including its mandate for late term abortions, funded by taxpayers, and performed by non-physicians. Some Assembly members, however, stood up courageously during floor debate in defense of life. One of them was Long Island Assemblyman Brian Curran (Lynbrook-21st AD), whose words were brought to our attention by Kathleen Gallagher, pro-life director for the New York State Catholic Conference. As Mr. Curran is my assemblyman, I am particularly proud to share his words with you here:

“As a husband and father, I want the greatest and best opportunities to be available for my wife and daughter, and I want to create safe and respectful workplace environments. However, my conscience says that I cannot support the omnibus bill that was brought before the Assembly. Mixed in with nine perfectly reasonable provisions to expand protections against sexual harassment, stop discrimination against those who have suffered domestic violence, put an end to human trafficking, and several other worthy proposals, an expansion of late-term and partial birth abortion was added. Shame on the governor and the speaker of the Assembly for holding these nine worthwhile proposals hostage with the tenth proposal, to expand abortion practices here in New York State. The governor’s and speaker’s refusal to allow each proposal to be voted on separately is a true disservice to women.

“I have never voted against my conscience. While today’s discussion should have been about true women’s equality in this state, the addition of a flagrantly controversial abortion issue was used to derail the honest debate about how we need to help bring dignity and security to women in the workplace.

“The proponents of late-term and partial birth abortion in the state repeatedly argue that their goal was to make New York State law consistent with federal statutes. However, having the opportunity to debate this subject on the Assembly floor, it became quite clear that only Roe v. Wade and not the numerous and more contemporary Supreme Court and federal statutes were used. If the goal of these supporters of late-term abortion was to create consistency between state and federal law, then why did they pick and choose which laws they did or didn’t want included?

“I specifically had the opportunity to ask why the tenth proposal did not contain language similar to the enacted federal Hyde Amendment and New York State’s yearly proposed Butler Amendment, which limits or restricts taxpayer funding of abortions. No answer was given. If the goal of the tenth proposal was to bring New York into compliance with federal law, why did the tenth proposal not contain language similar to the federal law – Born Alive Infant Protection Act – which provides protection to a baby born alive after an attempted abortion procedure, regardless of which stage of pregnancy?

“Again, no answer, because the proponents disagree with federal law and would like to see abortions, and late-term abortions, provided at the expense of the taxpayers with no protections being afforded to babies who could survive an abortion procedure. The draftees of the late-term abortion expansion buck federal law when it suits their agenda, but would champion the expansion of an issue which has proved extraordinarily divisive and unconscionable to a significant number of New Yorkers at the expense of truly helping end discrimination against women in the workplace and in housing.

“Today was an exercise in politics over substance. We have betrayed and let down women, including my wife and daughter, because the misguided decision was made to sacrifice true and meaningful workplace and social protections for an aggressive proposal to expand late-term and partial birth abortions. The selfish politicians in Albany have again chosen sound bites over substance. I wholeheartedly support meaningful measures to combat sexual harassment in the workplace and provide substantive protections to women in our society; I don’t know a legislator or New Yorker who doesn’t stand for those honorable principles. But instead, an attempt to normalize and expand abortion in the state took place.

“My hope is that when the Senate passes the meaningful nine bills for women’s equality – which they responsibly separated from one another – that my colleagues and I will be able to join them and pass those nine measures that are thoughtful and reasonable means to help women in this state.

“I will not vote against my conscience, and cannot support an omnibus bill that expands late-term abortion. We will find better ways to serve women in New York, including bringing better economic opportunities and job growth to their communities, helping to make education affordable for women and their families, and raising the standard of living for all residents of New York.”