Gov. Cuomo Pushes Late-Term Abortion Legislation in New York
First it was same-sex marriage, then gun control. Now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has set his sights on another key element of his legislative agenda, one that he likely hopes will solidify his candidacy to be the next liberal president of the United States in 2016.
Cuomo is wholeheartedly pushing the Reproductive Health Act, a bill that is part of his 10-point “Women’s Equality” agenda, and one that will allow abortions in New York after the 24th week of pregnancy.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union of New York, the state must “turn the tide on the anti-woman wave sweeping the nation by passing the Reproductive Health Act.”
The legislation hopes to continue the pro-abortion trend of usurping the language of “health care” to present the denial of abortion, at any time during pregnancy, as a thwart to the health of women. The ACLU states:
Sometimes a pregnancy puts a woman’s health and life at risk. When this happens- often late in a pregnancy- a woman is faced with the difficult decision of whether to have an abortion in order to protect her own health. This difficult, personal decision should be made by a woman and her doctor, not politicians in Washington or Albany. Currently, New York criminalizes abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy, unless a woman’s life is at risk. New York law does not make the same, constitutionally required exception when a woman’s health is at risk.
Abortion advocates, then, hope to legalize late-term abortions in New York, with legal coverage for doctors who perform them, if a woman’s health is at risk, not just her life. It would seem that the word “health” could be interpreted fairly broadly.
As Upper Hudson’s Planned Parenthood states on its website:
We need to fix a troubling gap in New York’s abortion law. A woman can experience serious health complications at any point during pregnancy. This is a tragic situation, often meaning she has to choose between protecting her health or continuing with a very wanted but risky pregnancy. Current New York law compounds that tragedy when it happens late in pregnancy by making it a potential crime to provide an abortion to protect her health.
Interestingly, the issue of maternal health and high-risk pregnancy was recently explored at the International Symposium on Excellence in Maternal Health in Dublin. A major theme of the symposium in September of last year was the management of high-risk pregnancies, cancer in pregnancy, fetal anomalies, mental health and maternal mortality. Symposium organizers released the following conclusions:
As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynecology, we affirm that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.
We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.
We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.
Professor Eamon O’Dwyer, speaking for the symposium, concluded, “The symposium clarifies that direct abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of a woman, and that’s good news for mothers and their babies.”
Gov. Cuomo’s Reproductive Health Act hopes to counter some of the recent successes of pro-life advocates, such as the Alabama Supreme Court’s decision to recognize the unborn as persons deserving legal protections. The state’s high court ruled this month that it is a crime to chemically endanger an unborn child by exposing him or her to a controlled substance.
The court observed that “the only major area in which children are denied legal protection is abortion, and that denial is only because of the dictates of Roe.”
Cuomo cannot count on the support of all Democrats for his late-term abortion bill. Leslie Diaz, spokeswoman for Democrats for Life of New York, says of the Reproductive Health Act:
The Reproductive Health Act S5808/A11484 would legalize abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, for virtually any reason and make abortion immune from any reasonable state regulation such as parental notification or informed consent. It would make legal late-term abortions that are now a criminal offense under current Penal Law…
We know that the billion-dollar abortion industry preys upon Black and Hispanic families and we know that the Reproductive Health Act S5808/A11484 will sacrifice more of our children on the government's altar of convenience. The Reproductive Health Act S5808/A11484 will result in more abortions in Black and Hispanic communities.