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Bishops to Meet With Gov. Cuomo to Stop His Bill for Late-Term Abortions

by Steven Ertelt | Albany, NY | LifeNews.com | 3/14/13 12:22 PM

State

The Catholic bishops of New York state are slated to meet with pro-abortion Governor Andrew Cuomo soon to try to talk him out of pushing a bill in the New York legislature that would promote late-term abortions and overturn pro-life laws.

The Catholic Bishops of New York State will meet with Cuomo on Tuesday at the State Capitol in Albany. Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan, archbishop of New York, will be unable to attend the meeting as he will still be in Rome, where Pope Francis’ formal Mass of Installation will be held that same day.

“The most prominent item on the agenda will be the Governor’s yet-to-be introduced abortion bill, which Cardinal Dolan and the Bishops strongly oppose. The bishops also plan to discuss education funding with the Governor, as well as funding for housing and other programs for the poor and vulnerable, and humane treatment for incarcerated individuals,” a statement from the New York Catholic Conference to LifeNews says.

“The Bishops are planning to meet with Senator Dean Skelos, Senator Jeff Klein and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver later in the afternoon. The Bishops will remain in Albany overnight for the March 20 Catholics at the Capitol event, in which several hundred Catholic New Yorkers will come to Albany to lobby their legislators on those same issues,” the statement continued.

Paul Rondeau, the executive director of American Life League, talked about the bill in a column at LifeNews.

Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New York has double the national per capita abortion rate and fewer abortion restrictions than almost every other state. Rumored as a possible Democratic 2016 presidential candidate, Cuomo thinks he learned something from President Obama: the abortion train leads to the White House.

As usual for pro-abortion politicians, promoting the deaths of the most innocent in our society is sold as “health care” and as empowering – the preborn child being irrelevant, of course. And so it is with the Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act: Its tenth point is the Reproductive Health Act, bill S438.

Cuomo says his goal is to reduce the number of abortions in New York and ensure women’s safety, but the RHA will likely increase the abortion rate and put women at higher risk. In New York City, 41 percent of all pregnancies end in abortion.

The politically correct, stated purpose of S438 is to “just” update “New York’s abortion and contraception laws to correct constitutional defects and ensure that abortion is treated as a health matter” and prohibit the state from “discriminating” against the exercise of “reproductive rights.”

The New York State Catholic Conference disagrees: “[The bill] is unnecessary, extreme and dangerous. The abortion expansion bill is uncompromising in its terms and extremely sweeping in scope.”

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“Gov. Cuomo’s bill elevates abortion to a fundamental right and says New York state can’t discriminate on abortion in benefits or services or anything else it provides,” said Kathleen Gallagher, the New York’s Catholic Conference director of pro-life activities.

“Cuomo’s legislation, she said, would make illegal abortion restrictions, such as parental-notification laws, informed-consent laws, restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion bans of any kind,” she said in an interview.

The Catholic Conference has a breakdown of what the extreme legislation would do, explaining that it  does not simply “update” New York law or codify Roe vs. Wade. It would usher in extreme and sweeping changes to abortion policy in New York State.

  • The bill would permit unlimited late-term abortion on demand. Current state law says abortions are legal in New York through 24 weeks of pregnancy (Article 125 Penal Law), but outlawed after that unless they are necessary to save a woman’s life.  This bill would repeal that law and insert a “health” exception, broadly interpreted by the courts to include age, economic, social and emotional factors. It is an exception that will allow more third-trimester abortions in New York State, a policy which the public strongly disapproves.  This ignores the state’s legitimate interest in protecting the lives of fully formed children in the womb, and ignores the will of a majority of New Yorkers who oppose late-term abortion.
  • The bill would endanger the lives of women by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions. While current law states that only a “duly licensed physician” may perform an abortion, this bill would allow any “licensed health care practitioner” to perform the procedure prior to viability. This dangerous and extreme change clearly puts women’s health at risk, and mirrors a national abortion strategy to permit non-doctors to perform abortions due to the declining number of physicians willing to do so.
  • The bill would preclude any future reasonable regulations of abortion. It would establish a “fundamental right of privacy” within New York State law, encompassing the right “to terminate a pregnancy,” even though the Supreme Court has rejected, numerous times, classifying abortion as a “fundamental right.”  Therefore, it is impossible to say that this legislation simply “codifies Roe vs. Wade” in New York law.  It goes well beyond Roe. The Court has said that states may regulate abortion, as long as those regulations do not place an “undue burden” on the right to an abortion. This bill says that abortion is fundamental and thus untouchable – no regulations on abortion, ever. No parental notification for minors’ abortions, no limits on taxpayer funding of abortion, no limits on late-term abortions, no informed consent for pregnant women seeking abortion. None of the commonsense regulations enacted by the vast majority of states and supported by large majorities of the public would be allowed in New York.
  • The bill endangers the religious liberty of Catholic hospitals and other institutions. While the bill contains limited conscience protection, that protection is ambiguous and inadequate and is extended only to individual health providers who do not wish to “provide” abortions (protection that is already guaranteed by Civil Rights law.) What is not provided in the bill are protections for institutional providers, such as religious hospitals and other agencies that do not wish to be involved with abortion. The bill declares that “the state shall not discriminate” against the exercise of the fundamental right to abortion in the “provision of benefits, facilities, services or information.”  In other words, it would permit state regulators, such as the State Health Department or State Insurance Department, to require support for abortion from any agency or institution licensed or funded by the state.
  • The bill could be used to undermine the state’s maternity programs.  In a similar way, these beneficial programs, which are working well to reduce infant mortality, could be ruled “discriminatory” for favoring childbirth over abortion, and be denied state benefits if this bill were to become law.

Contact members of the assembly and urge opposition to the bill by going to http://assembly.state.ny.us/