New York Senate Leader Will Push Radical Bill to Significantly Expand Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 13, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New York Senate Leader Will Push Radical Bill to Significantly Expand Abortions

by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 13
, 2009

Albany, NY ( — With Democrats taking over the state Senate following the 2008 elections, the safety net pro-life advocates had to stop a radical pro-abortion bill is gone. Now, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith says he will push a legislative measure that would significantly expand unlimited abortions in New York.

Pro-life organizations have strongly opposed the Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act because it would enshrine abortion in state law and overturn virtually every pro-life limit.

The measure would also force Catholic and other pro-life hospitals to change their policies and do abortions upon request.

Smith said Monday that he plans to promote the bill — a departure from last year when the former Republican majority blocked it.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer proposed the pro-abortion bill in 2007 and pro-life advocates were able to stall it but now the floodgates could be open, as the legislature appears poised to pass it and new Gov. David Paterson supports it.

A Gannett News Service article profiled a speech Smith gave at the pro-abortion Family Planning Advocates event on Monday.

He said the states’ abortion laws were "outdated" and "we have to bring these laws up to the 21st century."

Dennis Poust, a spokesman for the New York Catholic Conference, says his group is very worried about the prospects of the bill becoming law.

"It’s been pretty clear that if the Senate were to flip, as it has, that we were going to be looking at much more liberalized abortion [laws]," he said.

He told Gannett that the Reproductive Health bill is so radical it would "eliminate even common-sense restrictions on abortion and it could compel all hospitals to provide abortions."

"There’s a lot at stake because we won’t perform or do abortions in our hospitals," he said and told the news service he worries some Catholic hospitals may be forced to close rather than allow abortions.

The only hope of stopping the bill is persuading some of the Senate Democrats to join Republicans in opposing it or changing Patterson’s mind.

Alan Mehldau, chairman of Westchester-Putnam Right to Life, previously said he hopes Patterson will back down, but the governor has routinely attended pro-abortion events sponsored by Planned Parenthood and promised he would fulfill its agenda.

"I’m hoping that he’ll look at it and he’ll see the reaction to this bill, which has been outstanding as far as people finally waking up," Mehldau said. He might say, ‘Hey, this is one we’ll leave out for the time being.’"

In 2004, the organization presented Paterson the "Margaret Sanger Award" — named after the woman who founded Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business. He also received an award from Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood.

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