The fate of the Women's Equality Act will be known within the next few days as lawmakers in Albany finish their current session.
The 10-point bill addresses equal pay, domestic violence, human trafficking and housing. It also contains a provision to codify the language of Roe v. Wade in New York State health law. Republicans in the Senate object to the abortion bill, but Assembly Democratic leaders so far refuse to remove it from the package.
Barbara LeSavoy, PhD, director of Women and Gender Studies at the College at Brockport, says it's crucial to keep all 10 provisions in the bill because they all work together to ensure equal rights for women.
"They must have the right to an equal wage. They should be able rent an apartment without discrimination. We should be able to bring children into the world free of choice. And, importantly if we are thinking about freedom of choice, we should have the environment and the circumstances that enable us to raise our families with full health insurance coverage,and with protection for their safety."
LeSavoy says it would be illogical to separate the measures and she uses an example from the first women's rights convention at Seneca Falls to make her point. "It's almost as if we were going to read the Declaration of Sentiments on the steps of the Presbyterian Church and say 'Let's do one of these,' or, 'Let's just take one sentiment.' The entire Declaration of Sentiments covers multiple (points) and overlays the complexity of our lives."
Members of the local Women's Equality Coalition will hold a rally at 5 tonight on East Avenue. They say they want to remind Rochester-area residents that none of the provisions in the Women's Equality Act have become law.