FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 1, 2022
CONTACT: Olivia Lapeyrolerie, [email protected]
As the New York State Legislative Session Comes to a Close, Advocates Escalate Campaign to Pass Constitutional Amendment to Expand Equal Rights Protections in New York
ALBANY, NY – With only one day left in New York State’s Legislative Session, the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund (NIRH AF), New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), and Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts (PPESA) are escalating their campaign to pass an Equality Amendment. Today, a newly released poll shows that New Yorkers overwhelmingly support passing an Equality Amendment – and have an expectation for lawmakers to step up and take meaningful action. Last night, the organizations and supporters rallied in Albany as a projection illuminated the Egg demanding that the amendment pass this legislative session.
The Equality Amendment is the most meaningful action the legislature can take as the fight over abortion rights rages across the country, along with growing threats to LGBTQ individuals and the continued impacts of racism and racial violence. The amendment would change New York state’s constitution to comprehensively prohibit discrimination based on a person’s race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, and sex – including pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
A poll released today conducted by Global Strategy Group of 1,710 registered voters in New York shows significant agreement that discrimination is a salient threat in New York. Voters nearly universally see discrimination in the country (95%) and in New York (91%) as a serious issue. New Yorkers agree (77%) that New York’s leaders should be doing more to protect abortion rights in the state – and strongly support enshrining these rights in the state constitution. 79% of voters would vote “yes” on a constitutional amendment expanding equal rights protections. Three quarters (75%) of voters say the Amendment would have a positive impact on pregnant New Yorkers. The full set of findings can be found here.
“Public pressure is mounting and there is widespread expectation that elected officials in Albany act now to stop discrimination, protect all people’s freedoms, and serve as a bulwark against attacks coming from the federal level and Supreme Court,” said Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund. “Symbolic actions aren’t enough – we need real, lasting change in the form of the Equality Amendment.”
“Our federal and state constitutions were written at a time when their promises of equality were far too limited for today’s needs. Currently, New York’s constitution provides inadequate protection against the racial and gender-related bias that remain embedded in our social, economic, and political institutions. As the U.S Supreme Court prepares to roll back abortion rights, and as states across the county mount bigoted attacks against the LGBTQ+ community, Albany must take decisive and comprehensive action now to right these wrongs and enshrine equal rights into our state constitution,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director at the New York Civil Liberties Union. “The State Senate and Assembly must pass an Equality Amendment that safeguards the rights of communities of color, those with disabilities, LGBTQ+ individuals, women, and pregnant people this session. The findings released today show that New Yorkers know our current constitutional protections are not enough, and that they are ready to add equality and justice to our constitution. The time for the Equality Amendment is now.”
“New Yorkers are energized and want lawmakers to make a bold commitment to protecting our most fundamental rights. Swift action is needed to protect New Yorkers from the dangerous reality presented by the Supreme Court and states across our country where attacks on abortion rights, reproductive health, and LGBT+ rights are escalating by the day. Time is of the essence – urgent action from our lawmakers is necessary to meet this moment. New York must advance the equality amendment now,” said Georgana Hanson, interim President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts.
The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) is an advocacy group that works directly with state and local reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations and allied groups to protect and advance access to reproductive healthcare. For more than 40 years, NIRH has been partnering with communities to build coalitions, launch campaigns, and successfully advocate for policy change. NIRH’s strategy is to go on the offensive and focus on communities where change is needed, so the fabric of reproductive freedom becomes harder to tear apart.