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Gillibrand: Abortion decision will drive November elections

A woman holds up a sign during Senator Gillibrand's press conference hours after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade
Lucas Willard
/
WAMC
A woman holds up a sign during Senator Gillibrand's press conference hours after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand gathered with women and fellow Democratic officials outside the Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood office in Albany today to speak out against the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision.

Senator Gillibrand spoke to a small but emotional crowd hours after the Supreme Court struck down the Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions in a 6 to 3 ruling Friday.

The landmark decisions that affirmed and upheld the right to an abortion as part of the right to privacy are now a thing of the past.

The Democrat assailed the conservative-learning court’s ruling, predicting it could be only the beginning.

“We're talking about the right for LGBTQ equality, the right for gay marriage, the right to decide what kind of contraception your body needs, the right to make any personal medical decision,” said Gillibrand. “This reasoning is so far reaching and so out of step with the norm, that it's unconscionable.”

In a mid-term election year where Democrats are considered unlikely to keep their narrow control of Congress, Gillibrand said the decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson case would dominate the polls this November.

“I hope in many people's mind, it is the issue on the ballot. Because if women do not have equality in this country, if women are not full citizens, if women don't have the human rights and human dignity to decide what's going to happen to their bodies and their futures, we have lost our rights to citizenship.”

Gillibrand said she would support abolishing the filibuster to codify abortion rights into federal law.

The Senator was flanked by fellow Democratic politicians, including local mayors, and state and local lawmakers.

State Senator Michelle Hinchey traveled to Albany from Woodstock.

“I cried in the car on the way here. And yet I know that I'm one of the privileged people,” she said.

The first-term Democrat encouraged voters to rally behind pro-choice candidates.

“Up and down the ballot. These are our school boards, our town boards, our state legislatures, or county legislatures, and our federal government. Because not only is that the bench of people that we will have running for more seats, but that sends a signal, again, to every community across our state and across our country, that this will not and this cannot stand,” said Hinchey.

State Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, a Democrat seeking re-election in the 113th District, said she was “saddened beyond belief” about how the Supreme Court decision will affect future generations. She said it’s up to voters to raise their voices to elect pro-choice candidates.

“And that’s not going to happen just because we write letters. It’s not going to happen just because we wave signs. It’s going to happen because we elect people who want to protect our rights as women. It's going to happen because we're going to elect people who say women are 51 percent of the population. We are 56 percent of the voting population. And we want to be equal participants in this state and in this country’s and in the globe’s economy,” said Woerner.

Michelle Ostrelich, a Schenectady County legislator running for State Senate, urged the public to become informed about all their local officials.

“When you go to the polls in November, remember what these leaders have said today, and remember that every election matters,” said Ostrelich.

For their part, Republican leaders in New York cheered the decision. The No. 3 House Republican, Elise Stefanik of the 21st district, and gubernatorial hopeful Congressman Lee Zeldin of Long Island were among GOP officials welcoming the ruling.

Demonstrations are scheduled across the region this weekend including two separate rallies tonight in Albany, one led by BIPOC activists at 6 at Townsend Park and another hosted by Planned Parenthood at the state capitol at 8.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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