As Liz noted in the Capital Tonight Morning Memo, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s comments on abortion were quickly derided by women’s groups.

Astorino, who opposes abortion, told reporters in Albany earlier this week that the issue was a “straw man” effort by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to avoid an economic discussion and shore up his campaign war chest.

“Abortion’s been legal in this state for 44 years,” Astorino said at the state Capitol during a Q-and-A session with reporters. “Abortion, in any major way in New York, is not going anywhere, but he is trying to use it to drive his supporters and maybe raise money off it.”

The potential Republican candidate for governor is socially conservative, but he has chosen to emphasize tax and spending issues in Democratic-heavy Westchester County.

Though he has had success — Astorino won a second term in a landslide in November — running statewide may be more problematic, especially on the abortion issue, as well as LGBT rights.

But the 10-point women’s agenda, which included a provision aimed at codifying Roe v. Wade as proposed by Cuomo last year, continues to resonate heading into the election season. The abortion provision failed in the Senate, were lawmakers approved nine out 10 planks in the legislative package.

NARAL Pro-Choice President Andrea Miller blasted Astorino following the comments.

“Today’s comments today serve as further proof of his hostility to the basic rights and services that keep women healthy, safe, and equal, such as access to abortion, contraception, and teen pregnancy prevention. And the New Yorkers who care about these issues – especially women – are paying close attention.”

The coalition of women’s groups assembled to back the agenda also released a statement, calling Astorino’s comments “insulting.”

“Mr. Astorino’s dismissal of abortion as an integral issue for the women of New York and his politically motivated mischaracterization of the Women’s Equality Agenda are out of line with the fact that a majority of New York voters actually support an update to our abortion laws,” the coalition said. “Updating our 44-year-old abortion laws to protect women’s health and align with current federal law is practical, not extreme. To even call the issue of abortion a “straw man” is insulting and demonstrates his lack of understanding and complete disregard of just how important access to reproductive health care is for women.”

Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York’s Tracey Brooks told me in an interview on Wednesday that Astorino is out of line with most voters.

“It’s really hard to take even the thought of an Astorino candidacy seriously when he’s already come out and insulted over half of the voters in the state of New York,” she said.

Cuomo may have $33 million to bring to his re-election, but the women’s groups will likely bring cash themselves and with it paid media to knock any Astorino campaign.

Update: Astorino spokesman Bill O’Reilly sent over a statement in response.

“New Yorkers are exhausted by Governor Cuomo and his surrogates working to distract voters from the economic challenges bleeding jobs and people from New York State. Today’s attacks on County Executive Rob Astorino are the umpteenth example of that. But we will make one thing perfectly clear: Under no circumstances would a Governor Astorino sign legislation that would permit unrestricted abortions into the ninth month of pregnancy. Governor Cuomo may call that progressivism; Rob Astorino calls it what it is, infanticide.”