Endorsed Democratic nominee Carima El-Behairy (NY-60) is calling on her opponent, New York Senator Chris Jacobs, and his fellow Republican legislators to take a stand for women’s rights by passing the Reproductive Health Act (S2796/A1748). In March, the New York State Assembly passed this critical piece of legislation, but the bill remains stuck in the state Senate Health Committee, of which Jacobs is a member.

Following the June 27 announcement that US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s conservative swing vote, plans to step down later this month, there has been much speculation that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that upheld a woman’s right to obtain a safe and legal abortion, will be under attack. In advance of President Donald J. Trump’s July 9 appointment of conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the soon-to-be vacant SCOTUS seat, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an Executive Order protecting women’s access to contraception and demanded that Senate Republicans move to immediately codify the protections guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. El-Behairy stands firmly with Cuomo in his call to protect the rights the current administration is attempting to erode.

“We must eliminate restrictions that would criminalize women who suffer a miscarriage at home, protect the rights of women to access safe and legal abortion, and protect the medical professionals providing access to women’s reproductive care,” El-Behairy said. “According to the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), seven out of ten New Yorkers across political and religious lines support the Reproductive Health Act, which respects women’s right to control their own bodies and make choices that are best for them and their families. And yet Chris Jacobs, the current District 60 Senator, voted with the Republican majority against releasing this bill from the Senate Health Committee to the floor for a vote.”

El-Behairy, who serves on the board of her local Planned Parenthood affiliate, is a longtime supporter of a woman’s right to choose and supports access to quality healthcare—particularly for women. When elected, the progressive Democrat will work to ensure that state law protects New Yorkers from potentially disastrous federal actions.

“New York State has the opportunity to protect a woman’s right to choose,” El-Behairy said. “In the event Roe is overturned, the passage of the Reproductive Health Act would ensure that a woman in New York is able to choose the best course of action regarding her personal healthcare decisions, including electing to have a child or to end a pregnancy.” The act would update New York State’s existing pre-Roe laws by amending the penal law, the criminal procedure law, the county law, and the judiciary law, and put abortion—a medical procedure—into the health code where it belongs.

El-Behairy is a small business owner with a record of service to the region’s arts, education, and health organizations. She is running on a platform of quality education, particularly universal pre-K, healthcare access and affordability, election reform, and economic development with preservation.

El-Behairy is the endorsed Democratic candidate for New York State Senate, District 60.