From the Morning Memo:

The Assembly Democratic conference, which is poised to release its one-house budget proposal, is upping the ante in the abortion rights debate in light of President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision and return this controversial issue back to the states. 

Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, a Yonkers Democrat, said during a CapTon interview that Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been outspoken in his support of abortion rights, should pressure the Senate Republicans to codify Roe v. Wade in state law by including the tenth plank of his erstwhile Women’s Equality Act – the only plank the GOP-controlled Senate has refused to pass – in this year’s budget. 

“We are at risk, frankly, of losing this essential and guaranteed right if the court changes pursuant to Trump’s apparent direction,” Mayer said.

“This is the moment to get this done. In fact, our conference is calling on the governor to urge that in the budget bill we put in the language of Roe v. Wade and codify New York law, so we are not at risk here.”

“Because the fact is the Trump administration and the people they’ve appointed and may appoint really pose a distinct risk and threat to the health and safety of women and families. Women and reproductive health and health care is not just a women-only issue. We really need to address it head on this year right here in New York.”

Mayer declined to say whether the tenth plank would be included in her conference’s one-house budget bill, saying she wanted to “wait to see how the actual language turns out.” But she did note that the chamber passed the measure earlier this year. 

“If the budget is the instrument where the governor has the most ability through his force and his energy to get this done, we’re urging that he gets it done,” the assemblywoman said.

“…It’s not a matter of want,” she continued. “We really must move forward and respond to the threats of the Trump administration aggressively, forcefully, and in a respectful way, but recognizing that women throughout this state are dependent on the rights that we have in Roe v. Wade and we cannot afford to have them undone and not respond here at home.”

The Women’s Equality Act, as you may recall, played a big role in Cuomo’s successful re-election run back in 2014. He made women’s rights a hallmark of his campaign, even going so far as to create the Women’s Equality Party, (which is now more or less defunct after a battle over its leadership, though don’t be surprised to see it revived in advance of the 2018 election). 

The Senate Republicans, however, dug in their heels and refused to take up the full ten-bill package as long as it included the abortion rights plank.

Eventually, after much hemming and hawing, Cuomo and his allies in the women’s rights community, as well as female Democratic state lawmakers, decided to break up the package and stop seeing the GOP hold the other nine bills hostage to the tenth.

Since Trump’s election last november, women’s rights advocates have resumed their call for the Senate to pass the tenth plank, insisting – as they long have – that there are sufficient votes among the Senate Republicans to actually pass the measure should it make it to the floor. But so far, there has been no movement in that direction.