Fox News' Andrea Tantaros baselessly claimed that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports sex-selective abortion and distorted his Women's Equality Act after Cuomo criticized "extreme conservatives" in New York.
In an appearance on Albany, N.Y., public radio station WCNY's Capitol Pressroom, Cuomo condemned the actions of extreme conservatives, saying, "Are they these extreme conservatives who are right to life, pro-assault weapons, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that's who they are, and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York because that's not who New Yorkers are." After the New York Post highlighted his comments under the headline "Gov. Cuomo to conservatives: Leave NY!," Cuomo's office argued that he had been taken out of context and that in that same appearance, Cuomo "went on to say 'it is fine' to be anti-gun control, and anti-choice - as he respects both positions."
In an appearance on the January 21 edition of Fox's America's Newsroom, Tantaros attacked Cuomo for his comments and attempted to portray him as out of the mainstream by baselessly claiming that Cuomo "believes in gender selection, so if you are having a girl and you don't want a girl, you can just get rid of it and have a boy" and that the governor believes "you can have an abortion any time":
But Tantaros offered no evidence to support her claim that Cuomo supports sex-selective abortion, instead parroting talking points from right-wing groups such as the Chiaroscuro Foundation who made the dubious accusation that because the Women's Equality Act -- a proposed law championed by Cuomo -- does not explicitly outlaw sex-selective abortion, the governor supports it.
Although anti-choice conservatives have long invoked sex-selective abortion as a way to attack reproductive choice, there is no evidence that it occurs with any kind of regularity. In a February 25, 2011 report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 91.5 percent of abortions were performed before the 13thweek of pregnancy, before gender can be identified. A Guttmacher Institute policy review called the focus on gender selection one of "the widening panoply of strategies being deployed to restrict U.S. abortion rights" and pointed out that "What is conclusively known is that the U.S. sex ratio at birth in 2005 stood at 105 boys to 100 girls, squarely within biologically normal parameters."
The Women's Equality Act does not allow abortion at any time for any reason. The New York Women's Equality Coalition explained that the act would codify "in New York State law the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade" and add a protection that allows women to get an abortion within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, "or when necessary to protect her life and health":
The Women's Equality Act would:
Ensure that a woman can access abortion care in New York State when her health is at risk by:
1. Codifying in New York State law the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade;
2. Ensuring that a woman in New York can get an abortion within 24 weeks of pregnancy, or when necessary to protect her life or health;
3. Ensuring that physicians operating within their scope of practice cannot be criminally prosecuted in New York for providing such care; and
4. Retaining those provisions in state law that allow the state to prosecute those who harm pregnant women.