Saturday, May 11, 2019


Creepy scene at Putnam Legislature meeting

A page from, "A Handmaid's Tale" at the Putnam County Legislature

CARMEL – It was an eerie scene at this week’s meeting of the Putnam County Legislature when five women entered the historical Putnam Courthouse in Carmel – all dressed in red robes with hoods covering their faces and without saying a word sat down and witnessed the entire 90-minute meeting.

When the session ended, the women rose to their feet and walked to the rear of the courtroom and stood motionless as startled members of the legislature and others in attendance exited.

The silent demonstration was organized by Gina Van Nosdall of Cold Spring and was held in response to action taken by the legislators in April when emotions ran wild after the local lawmakers voted 8-1 calling on Albany to repeal the Reproductive Health Act signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in January.

Legislator Toni Addonizio, whose health committee introduced the measure, explained that the county legislature was “calling on the New York State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo to repeal the legislation in order to protect the unborn child.”

Legislator Nancy Montgomery of Philipstown, the lone Democrat on the legislature, said “to accuse our state officials of infanticide is wrong. This is not our place. Decisions regarding abortion must be left up to the women living it. We do not have a killing machine before us. Nothing is more personal that a woman’s pregnancy.”

On Thursday Van Nosdall said members of the OfdonNY Handmaids, a Hudson Valley women's health rights activist group, sat in silent protest.

“Our activism is inspired by the Margaret Atwood dystopian novel and award winning television series, ‘The Handmaid's Tale’ in which women lose control over their bodies and their human rights.”

She said they wanted to send “a strong message to the Putnam legislators. We are watching what is happening in our towns and counties and are focused on the national anti-woman strategy to rollback Roe v. Wade in each state. Today, Georgia became the sixth state to pass the ‘heartbeat’ bill, making it illegal for women to have an abortion after six weeks, a time when most women are unaware that they are even pregnant. We sat with an eye on Albany, Senator Sue Serino's anti-choice activity and Putnam's dishonest resolution.”

There was no discussion during or after the meeting regarding the local legislative action taken last month. When one man requested to be heard, Chairman Joseph Castellano reminded the individual that only matters discussed at the current meeting were open for discussion under legislative rules. He suggested that the Cold Spring resident send a letter to the clerk of the legislature with his comments.

Several of the legislators appeared to be uncomfortable during the meeting with the red robed garbed women seated silently nearby.

Following the session, one of the lawmakers who requested anonymity, admitted being “frightened. We live in a crazy world these days with violence being reported across the country and to see a group of hooded individuals enter a meeting like that made for horrible thoughts.”


  Copyright © 2019 Mid-Hudson News Network, a division of Statewide News Network, Inc.
This story may not be reproduced in any form, by any media, without express written consent. 
This includes rewriting, broadcasting and/or printing of material from,
by websites, radio and television stations, newspapers or other media


HEAR today's news on, the Hudson Valley's only Internet radio news report.