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Abortion rights: Why New York is swimming against the national tide

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Cuomo’s office has said his Reproductive Health Act is an effort to reinforce Roe v. Wade to protect the reproductive rights of women should the Supreme Court overturn the court’s landmark abortion ruling.

"The governor would simply realign our outdated state laws to federal law and existing state practice," said Cuomo’s counsel, Mylan Denerstein, in an Op-Ed. "The Supreme Court could always change and we want to protect a woman’s current right to choose."

Cuomo’s office has said the legislation would not expand state laws beyond federal standards. New York State’s existing law, which was passed in 1970, currently allows abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy only if a woman’s life is at risk, while federal law allows late-term abortions to protect a woman’s health even if her life is not in danger.

The bill – one plank of a 10-part Women’s Equality Act that would also seek to install equal pay, anti-trafficking and anti-discrimination legislation would allow licensed health-care practitioners, not just physicians, to perform abortions. It would also remove abortion from the state’s penal law and enter it into public health law.

Opponents, led by O’Reilly, have declared war on Cuomo’s proposal, saying it would be a radical expansion of abortion laws.

“Andrew Cuomo is barbaric. He’s just barbaric,” O’Reilly said on the Glenn Beck show. “It’s so barbaric that people should be rising up, but you’re not going to see it because we’re too busy on our video games. We can’t pull ourselves away.”

Later, on his own Fox News show, the conservative TV host said, “He’s behind a proposed new law that would allow abortions in New York state to be performed at any time for pretty much any reason. Cuomo wants to decriminalize all abortion activity.… I do not want my country to be a place of barbarism, and I will fight against that!”

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