January 30, 2017
Albany, NY

Video, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor Cuomo Proposes Constitutional Amendment Codifying Roe V. Wade Into the New York State Constitution

TOP Video, Photos & Rush Transcript: Governor...

Amendment Would Enshrine that State Shall Protect the Rights Established by Roe v. Wade Regardless of What Happens at the Federal Level
Announcement Made at "I Stand With Planned Parenthood" Rally and Family Planning Advocates' Day of Action – Video Here

Next Step of New York's Promise to Women: Ever Upward – More Information Available Here


Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced he is proposing to once and for all guarantee a woman’s right to choose in New York by codifying the protections established by the 1973 Roe v. Wade into the state constitution. This would ensure these protections remain in place in New York in the event this decision is overturned, or altered by a new U.S. Supreme Court. The Governor made the announcement at the Family Planning Advocates’ Day of Action in Albany. More information is available here.
VIDEO of the event in full is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h264 format) here.

AUDIO of the event is available here.

PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor’s Flickr page.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:

Good afternoon. How are we doing this afternoon? I can’t even hear you. I don’t think this microphone is on. How are we doing this afternoon? How appreciative are we that Planned Parenthood is here and in the house today?  How great is it that we have Cecile Richards here today? How appreciative are we of her fight and the fight of all the Planned Parenthood members all across this nation who are doing a great job? I am so proud of Cecile Richards. I love watching her on TV, and I am amazed at how much energy she has. And how she has been the general of the army in this great, great fight. Which I believe is going to go down in the history books as one of the moments that is going to define what this nation is all about.

Now, Ms. Richards and I are friends. We’re actually second generation colleagues. Cecile’s mother was the late, great Governor of the State of Texas—Ann Richards. And Governor Richards was a phenomenon. I loved to hear her speak, she was great, she was a keynote speaker at the convention, and she was extraordinary. And I am the son of a New York public servant who worked for many years, worked for many years to make this state a better state. Because I am the son of Matilda Cuomo! I am also the son of Mario Cuomo. And proud of both. I have 3 daughters, Cara, Mariah, Michaela. I say that in that order because that’s age order. They’re all in college now. And I can’t tell you how many times they’ve called home over the past few weeks upset. Upset about what’s going on, most recently two days ago when everything they believed America was about was changed with the stroke of a pen. When an Executive Order was signed closing the doors of America. It was a scar on our nation’s soul. It was a breach of the American promise. And it was a sign of disrespect to one woman in particular – the great lady in New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty.

My daughters are frightened and they are not alone. They look around they wonder what happened to the America that they believed in. But here’s the fact also – we will not lose this nation’s soul and we will not stop the progress of the women’s movement and we will not allow disrespect of any American female, male, black, white, gay, LGBTQ because we have come too far my friends and we are not going backwards, we are going forwards.

Now, for many years, this state was paralyzed. It didn’t assume its role as a national leader. But that changed. New York State has stood up and over the last few years we have made tremendous progress.

We passed the first women’s equality act outlawing employment and housing discrimination against women.

While the Congress in Washington stood frozen, we passed the “enough is enough” law that provides the greatest protection for women against campus sexual assault in the United States of America.

We passed the best paid family leave bill in the country.

We raised the minimum wage to 15 dollars, the highest in the United States that predominately helps women.

Last month we furthered equal pay by ordering salary blind state hiring.
And last week on the day of the Women’s March, we signed an order mandating insurance companies to pay for birth control without deductibles, without copays and it doesn’t matter what Congress does on Obamacare. Women are entitled to birth control.

The truth is we have come a long way. And the truth is that my daughters and all young women have rights today that my sisters didn’t have, that my mother didn’t have – There is a new generation of rights for women and that’s why we can’t go back.

I’m not saying everting is done, there’s certainly still more to do. There is an inherent sexism in society that exists and we will not stop fighting until we have total equality and parity.

Now as you know our rights are under attack in Washington and as they seek to limit women’s rights we in New York seek to protect them. As they pull on women’s rights, we’re going to push back on women’s rights. And as they threaten this nation with a possible Supreme Court nominees who will reverse Roe v. Wade – I want them to know today, if that’s what they do we’re going to protect Roe v. Wade in the State of New York. I propose today, I propose today, a constitutional amendment to right Roe v Wade into the New York State constitution so that nobody can change it. No supreme court nominee, because we’re going to protect a women’s right to choose in the state of New York. And let’s put in on the ballet and let’s let the people decide because this is still a democracy and New Yorkers want to protect a women’s right to choose.”

But as Cecile Richards said, our challenge is even greater. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not just women’s rights that are under attack it’s the rights of foreigners and immigrants and members of the LGBTQ community.

The new Washington philosophy is against people who are different than they are. That’s what it comes down to.

The administration wants to control access to our nation because they fear radical Islamic terrorists.  We fear terrorists too. This is the state of New York. It was the blood of New Yorkers that spilled on 9/11 we understand the fear of terrorism. But while we are afraid of terrorism, we also fear an extreme right wing agenda that will infringe on our rights. And my friends we will protect our borders from terrorists, but we’re also going to protect ourselves from an extreme right wing agenda that will trample on our rights.  

And the new administration in Washington forgot something – When they tried to slam the doors shut on America there was a piece of paper that actually got caught in the fray and it keep the doors open. That piece of paper is called the Constitution of the United States of America.

And that piece of paper says, that individuals have rights, the right to due process, the right to equal treatment under the laws and I want you to know that the state of New York is going to enforce every legal right of every person who’s detained, every person who’s victimized by any policy from that administration.

They forgot, they forgot that there’s a state named New York and they underestimated us. We’ve worked very hard for the place that we’ve achieved. We stand on the shoulders of great leaders like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and Geraldine Ferraro and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We have fought very hard for the progress that we have made. Great organizations like Planned Parenthood have brought us forward step by step and we are not going backwards.

They forgot that we are New Yorkers and we will stand in solidarity one with another. Because that is who we are. And that as a New Yorker I am a Muslim. And as a New Yorker, I am Jewish. And as a New Yorker, I am a refugee. And as a New Yorker, I am black, and as a New Yorker I am gay, and as a New Yorker I am poor, and as a New Yorker I am homeless. And as a New Yorker I am a child who needs an education. And as I am a New Yorker I am a family living in poverty. And that we are all connected and we are one. And if you infringe on the rights of one, you infringe on the rights of all. And if you attack one of us, you attack all of us. And we are going to stand in solidarity and we are going to push back and we are going to galvanize resistance like this nation has never seen. And we’re going to take this moment to bring this state and this nation forward. God bless you and thank you.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office