ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The New York State Assembly has voted to strengthen the state's abortion protections in advance of the Trump presidency.
As WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported, the bill updates a state law to reflect the standard set up by Roe v. Wade. Supporters see it as a hedge against a future Supreme Court decision that could overturn the landmark 1973 ruling.
Under current law, women can get an abortion beyond the first 24 weeks if the mother's health – mental or physical – is at risk. Mirroring Roe v. Wade, the new proposal would allow for abortions within the first trimester.
The debate on the bill was vigorous. Assemblyman Ron Castorina Jr. (R-Staten Island) had a heated exchange with the sponsor, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan)
"You want to repeal New York State law which currently allows for up to 20 weeks and you want to go..." Castorina said.
"Because it's unconstitutional," Glick countered.
"That's your position. I haven't seen you challenge it before the Supreme Court," Castorino said.
"I think that happened in 1973," Glick said.
The bill also removes references to abortion in the criminal law.
"That has been was used to charge people, say, who attacked pregnant female," Castroino said.
Assemblyman Edward P. Ra (R-Garden City) argued that prosecutors would lose a tool
"It is still an assault," Ra said.
As of now, the bill has no counterpart in the state Senate.
The Republican-controlled state Senate has rejected the measure multiple times, but Glick said if independent Democrats and regular Democrats come together.
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