Chelly Hegan, President/CEO, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood
As the President/CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, I am extremely disappointed that dysfunction in Albany has so far prevented New York from reclaiming its historic role as a state committed to women's equality.
Adjusting New York law to ensure greater equality for women in the year 2013 should have been a no brainer. Understanding that reproductive options are an integral aspect of women's ability to participate fully in our society, and that New York abortion law, written in 1970, should be updated to ensure proper oversight in the health code and the protections guaranteed originally by Roe, should not have been beyond the grasp of our elected representatives. The full ten point agenda of the Women's Equality Act was supported by a strong majority of the voters of New York. Yet, because of its broken system, the New York legislature has not been able to act in a coordinated fashion to make this full agenda law.
As direct providers of reproductive health, we at UHPP know too well the importance of the proposed updates in New York abortion law to the health and lives of women and their families. But we were equally committed to all ten points in this agenda. We applaud the Governor for his leadership. And we applaud the Assembly for passing the full agenda as one package and encourage them to put aside frustration and reconvene to at least pass those measures approved by the Senate.
We are proud of, and grateful to, those elected representatives from the Capital Region who have stood strong in support of the Women's Equality Act, reflecting the broad support of their constituents. Over 100 businesses and organizations in the Capitol Region came out as early sponsors of the Governor's proposed agenda and over 1000 individuals signed petitions. Hundreds of local residents took time from work and family to call, write and email their legislators and to participate in lobby visits, phone banks and rallies.
This campaign saw the achievement of a new level of heightened collaboration between leading local organizations including League of Women Voters, Mohawk Hudson Planned Parenthood, NYCLU Capital Region, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood and the YWCA of Northeast New York with additional key support from 1199 and AFL-CIO local chapters, AAUW, Citizen Action, In Our Own Voices and numerous other individuals and organizations. We know that this coalition will remain strong, and that we will continue to work with our impassioned base to break down the barriers that hold back equality for women in New York and in our nation. Meanwhile, Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood will continue to be there to support the women of our region, no matter what.