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ITHACA, NY – Pro-choice Republican Connie Cook wrote the legislation that decriminalized abortion in New York State in 1970, and her work was cited three years later in Roe Vs. Wade. Connie Cook: A Documentary tells the story of this brave Republican Assemblywoman, and is being celebrated by both Democrats and Republicans alike who believe that politicians should not legislate women’s health issues.

Producer, director and long time feminist activist Sue Perlgut, along with filmmaker Nils Hoover, has created a documentary that reminds us that politicians can do the right thing. The film is now available to rent or buy online at

Connie Cook: A Documentary is a fascinating and timely look at this woman who was ahead of her time. Cook was not only a great advocate for women’s health, she also took on the Episcopal Church to allow women to be priests — and she won. She was the first woman Vice-President at Cornell University, was a Fulbright scholar, a lawyer, a pilot, and a fencer. Connie Cook was a pioneer who made great contributions in the fight for justice and equal rights, and her work is still felt nationwide.

Connie Cook: A Documentary from Sue Perlgut on Vimeo.

More about Connie Cook
Constance Eberhardt Cook was a woman ahead of her time. She was a graduate of Cornell law school in 1943, one of only a few female corporate lawyers in NYC in the 1940’s and an important historical pioneer in the fight for women’s rights. She represented Tompkins County as a Republican in the New York State Assembly when there were only two other women there in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Through the political process, she implemented legislation concerning broad-based public control of education and the decriminalization of abortion. Her efforts regarding abortion became the critical model for the rest of the country. Mrs. Cook spent more than 10 years in the NY State assembly, always aware of her constituents’ needs. In 1974, she was the first woman vice-president of Cornell University. That same year she sued the Episcopal Church so that women could be priests and she won.

More about Sue Perlgut
Living in NYC in the late 1960’s, Perlgut participated in many demonstrations for abortion rights and spoke out about her illegal abortion. In 1970 she formed It’s All Right To Be Woman Theatre, an all woman theatre troupe that performed stories from their lives, and in 1977 she opened Djuna Books, a woman’s bookstore in Greenwich Village. Now living in Upstate NY, Perlgut started CloseToHome Productions to produce films with social justice themes. Connie Cook: A Documentary is her third documentary and second collaboration with Nils Hoover. For more information about Perlgut go to

(Featured photo pulled from Connie Cook: A Documentary trailer)

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.