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Letter to the Editor: NY Senate Must Vote on Equality Act Bill, Newsday, Jan. 23, 2014

Published: 01.23.14| Updated: 01.22.14

Women across the country won a major victory 41 years ago when the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed our right to safe and legal abortion ["Worthy laws for women still waiting," Opinion, Jan. 9]. Who knew that we'd still be fighting for a woman's ability to make her own reproductive decisions 41 years later?

Since 2010, we've seen an unprecedented assault in state legislatures and in Congress designed to chip away at access to safe and legal abortion. According to recent data compiled by the independent research organization the Guttmacher Institute, more than 200 restrictions on abortion access have become law since 2010. The result: More than half of American women of reproductive age live in states where access to abortion is obstructed. New Yorkers have it better, but make no mistake, our rights are at risk too.

In a recent column, Anne Michaud claimed that important women's rights laws are being "held hostage" by the reproductive health provision in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's proposed 10-point Women's Equality Act. We disagree. The blame for failing to pass the act falls on the New York State Senate and its leaders' refusal to take an up-or-down vote on all 10 points of the act as a single package, as their colleagues in the Assembly did last year.

It's time for the Senate to vote. Every woman deserves to know where her senator stands.

Reina Schiffrin, JoAnn Smith

Editor's note: The writers are the presidents of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic and Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, respectively.

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