On January 22, 2019 – 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision – the New York Senate Majority passed a series of historic legislation that will protect and ensure New York women’s health rights.
The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) that will codify that decision into New York law and modernize New York’s statutes to protect women’s rights.
The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA) that will ensure insurance companies cover FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices and products.
The Boss Bill that will prevent an employer’s religious beliefs from infringing on women’s health care decisions.
Those bills have also passed by State Assembly and were signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Among those voted in favor of the legislation were all four Greek American elected NY State officials with the Democratic Party; State Senators Mike Gianaris, James Skoufis and Andrew Gounardes and State Assemblyςομαν Aravella Simotas. Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis voted against.
We have no doubt that all five Greek American elected officials voted according to their consciousness and personal beliefs. We also have no doubt that all five of them are valuable assets for our Greek American Community, supporting our people, our organizations, parishes and schools. They are also role models for the younger generation of Greek Americans.
Greek News since day one supports systematically every serious Greek American candidate from either party and encourages Greek American voters to do the same. Saying that, we condemn the vicious attack against the four Greek American NY State officials by a small group of conservative Greek Americans who disagree with their vote on RHA – CCCA.
A post in the Facebook page of Constantinos Prentzas – he run for the City Council seat in Astoria in 2013) we discovered a screen shot of a post by Rev. Jerasimos Ballas, who is serving as priest at the SS Anargyroi Church in Greenport, LI, that belongs to St. Irene Chrysovalantou monastery. The post includes despicable characterizations against State Assembly woman Aravella Simotas and State Senator Mike Gianaris.
In a comment posted on Facebook. Rev. Anastasios Pourakis who is a priest in the St Demetrios Community in Astoria, in addition to Aravella Simotas and Mike Gianaris, he also attacks Governor Andrew Cuomo and former Vice President Joe Biden.
“Shameful that Greek Orthodox politicians in the NY State Assembly co sponsored and voted for it. Just as shameful that our Church honored Andrew Cuomo and Joe Biden with the Athenagoras humanitarian award. They do not value life but value votes and continuance of power masked in the name of public service. They serve mammon not God or freedom. The awards should be revoked and never invited to any function. On my part I will never appear at any Parish or school function that Ms. Simotas and Mr. Gianaris are present.”
We want to remind the priest the Governor Andrew Cuomo received the Athenagoras Award for saving St. Nicholas Church and National Shrine in Ground Zero. And Vice President Biden is defending for years the religious freedoms and the human rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and is a strong supporter of the Greek national issues.
Of course the position of the Orthodox Church in America is against the women’s right to chose, as it was expressed in a Common Statement by Orthodox and Catholic Bishops on the 43rd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, in January 2016. Then we have criticized our Archdiocese for sighting with the Conservative and for favoring the ultra right and playing political games. Hence it’s the right of both the Church and the two priest to express their views. What they cannot do is to destroy a Herculean Labor of decades, to have Greek America elected official to represent us and to be role models for our children. To the superiors of the two priests our suggestion is to put them on the leash.
OF THE GREEK
Senator Andrew Gounardes
After a decade long fight, so proud to help pass the RHA, CCCA and Boss Bill. These bills protect and ensure access to affordable reproductive options for all New Yorkers and fulfill our promise to put people before politics.
#RHA is officially law! Inspired to be with trailblazer @SarahWeddington on this historic day in the movement for #ReproductiveJustice and grateful to @nygovcuomo, @carlheastie and @andreascousins for making NY a leader in protecting the right to safe, legal abortion care.
Sen. Mike Gianaris
The #TimeIsNow for progress! The #NewNYSenate passed #RHA and #CCCA today safeguarding women’s health choices. More #progress will be done tomorrow and next week and the week after still