A sweeping women's rights act is dead in the water for now, after the New York State Legislature refused to agree on an attached abortion amendment this week. The amendment aimed to cement state abortion laws put into effect by 1973's landmark Roe v. Wade decision, but it was shot down primarily by Republicans, and the Catholic Conference called the amendment's failure, "quite literally, the answer to prayer."

The Women's Equality Act was a 10-point women's agenda with bills focusing on issues like equal pay and pregnancy discrimination; the abortion amendment in question, which included allowing abortions after 24 weeks into a pregnancy if a woman's health was at risk, was hastily attached to a bill on medical records by Senate Democratic co-leader, Jeff Klein (D-Bronx). But Senate Republicans did not pass the amendment; all the Republicans and two Democrats voted against the legislation. Now, though the WEA's nine other pieces of legislation passed the Senate, the State Assembly has refused to vote until all 10 are passed, putting the bill on hold just as the 2013 legislative session closed.

"I can't believe the Assembly would say, 'Were not going to let pay equity be the law even though it passed because we're upset with the protocol from the Senate," Governor Cuomo, who had been pushing the Women's Equality Act, said yesterday. And supporters of the abortion amendment criticized the Senate for refusing to push the bill through. "We don’t have 32 pro-choice senators," Senator Diane Savino said on Thursday. "That has not yet happened. I’ve been in the Senate nine years now, never at any point in my career have there been 32 pro-choice senators, regardless of party."

Meanwhile, pro-life advocates in the legislature voiced concern that the abortion amendment would expand late-term abortions. "This is infanticide," Assemblyman David DiPietro (R-East Aurora) said this week. "We can no longer afford to expand the government's war on the unborn." And the Catholic Conference cheered the amendment's failure, calling it a remarkable victory for unborn children" and "quite literally, the answer to prayer." The New York State Legislature has now concluded its 2013 session.