Central New York has always been a hot-bed of female rights beginning with the Suffragettes voting rights work in the early 19th century.
At the Auburn Public Theater during this weekend a documentary filmed in 2015 on the life of the woman who began reproductive rights legislation in New York State was shown. This Theater is a public organization with theater, movies, art education programs, and a Cafe.
It was only appropriate that here the documentary on Constance Cook, a republican leader, legislator, advocate, reformer, and
A Woman Ahead of Her Time was shown.
Sponsored by the Democratic Women of Cayuga County, this film documented Connie Cook’s life and achievements as a republican New York State legislator. She sponsored the New York State legislation which later went on to be the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision.
Connie began her education at Hunter College High School in New York City. She later attended Cornell University where she studied graduating with a law degree in 2 years. With the advent of WW II in 1941, she worked in the New York City corporate world, then also for Governor Thomas Dewey. Disgruntled with that path and lack of money in government work, she journeyed to Norway studying as a Fulbright scholar. Upon her return there were no Washington DC jobs for female lawyers so she returned to her home base in Ithaca, New York.
Here she became involved in politics, and married. Her husband cared for the home, and raised their 2 children. Her daughter, Cathy, spoke in the film stating her mother always felt an obligation to make things right and fix things.
Sue Perigut, the film Director/Writer, and Lee Michaels. Lee’s father ,George, gave the deciding vote for the NYS Abortion laws acceptance. After this he lost his seat in the NYS legislature and was shunned by his community for several years. He was a Democrat who was the first since the Civil War to hold a seat in the NYS legislature from his district. Since that time there have been no other Democrats from that district.
Connie also worked to change Episcopal laws to allow for female ministers, worked to improve the NYS college system, and on many environmental issues.
What a mover and shaker! Recommend all to view this amazing documentary.