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New York's abortion rights amendment knocked off November ballot, dealing a blow to Democrats

ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York judge on Tuesday blocked a politically important abortion rights amendment from appearing before voters on the November ballot, dealing Democrats a setback as the party moved to focus battleground races in the state around abortion access.

State Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. Doyle found that state lawmakers failed to follow procedural rules around passing constitutional amendments, incorrectly approving the amendment before getting a written opinion on the language from the attorney general.

Democrats passed the Equal Protection of Law Amendment last year to bar discrimination based on “pregnancy outcomes” or “gender expression” — provisions intended to protect abortion rights and a person’s right to seek gender-affirming care. The amendment wouldn’t explicitly preserve a woman’s right to have an abortion but backers said it would have the practical effect of protecting reproductive rights.

The ruling is a blow to Democrats in New York who have sought to spur voter turnout by framing key battleground House races around abortion access, betting that their base would be encouraged to cast a ballot to protect abortion rights following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The lawsuit was filed by Republican state Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes, who said Democrats did not adhere to state rules for approving a constitutional amendment.

The state attorney general’s office did not immediately comment.

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