June 26, 2014

Speaker Silver Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision Striking Down Reproductive Clinic Buffer Zones

Understanding the challenges to reproductive freedom, the Assembly Majority has passed all ten points of the Women's Equality Act and today we see why this matters. In light of the relentless efforts of the Far Right to erode women's rights and protections, the United States Supreme Court's decision in McCullen v. Coakley is a step backward and compromises the safety of women making private medical decisions with their doctors.

Striking down a Massachusetts law establishing buffer zones around abortion clinics is disconcerting and should alarm every New Yorker who is pro-choice. Women have the right to make their own reproductive health choices, free from fear, intimidation or governmental interference. We should be doing all that we can to protect women and to keep our clinics safe and accessible.

I believe that the Justices have given insufficient weight to the threatening lengths some anti-choice advocates have gone to block women from obtaining reproductive health services. Acts of violence directed toward clinics and providers are well-documented and we should never forget the 1998 slaying of Dr. Barnett Slepian, an obstetrician who treated women in the City of Buffalo.

This decision is why we must bolster our efforts to protect reproductive freedoms. To that end, I am calling upon my colleagues in the State Senate to vote on the Governor's omnibus, ten-point Women's Equality Act legislation, to ensure that the rights of women will not change in New York State no matter what happens in Washington.