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Lawmakers in NY push toward Women’s Justice agenda

With the Reproductive Health Act and the Contraceptive Care Act now law, officials in New York are looking to do more.

On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa and actress Julianne Moore highlighted the Women’s Justice Agenda, a package of wide-ranging measures that would end the statute of limitations for rape, expand access for in-vitro fertilization and bolster health services for at-risk pregnancies.

The agenda also address “revenge” porn by further criminalizing instances when someone shares sexually explicit images a person provided with the reasonable expectation they would not be made public.

DeRosa, the first woman to hold the post of secretary to the governor, pointed to President Donald Trump disbanding the Council on Women and Girls, as a sign that the federal government hasn’t taken the issues seriously. A state level version of the council was constituted in 2017 and is led by DeRosa.

“We don’t talk about issues in the abstract or based on hypotheticals. We personally have been overlooked and discounted as a result of our age and our gender and our appearance,” she said at the event.

“We’ve been demeaned and objectified and harassed—we’ve been held back. And while venting may be cathartic, it’s not enough. And so we’re fighting back, not with words but with actions resulting in real change, and this year’s agenda and last year’s accomplishments prove just that.”

Lawmakers last month approved new measures designed to strengthen the state’s abortion laws as well as access to contraceptives. The abortion legislation was criticized nationally by opponents, including the president in his State of the Union address.

“In New York, we say bring it on. We will not back down to lies and fear mongering from anyone, no matter the collar they wear or the office they hold,” DeRosa said in her remarks. “We will always stand up for women’s fundamental reproductive rights and for the precedent set 46 years ago. And undeterred, we will continue our fight for reproductive justice.‎”

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