Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) unveiled a bill on Tuesday that would radically expand abortion-on-demand in his state. Cuomo likened his 10-point plan, called the “Women’s Equality Act,” to a “bill of rights.”
The bill, which is aimed at strengthening women’s rights, includes a plank that would remove abortion from the state’s penal code and affirm abortion at any point during pregnancy if the mother’s health is in danger, a category that is so broad it could allow abortion at any time.
Referring to the bill as the “Back-Alley Abortionist Empowerment Act,” Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life (AUL) said that if the legislation passes, “New York will be sanctioning unrestricted, virtually unregulated, and taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, making it the most radically pro-abortion state in the nation.”
Currently New York, which has the nation’s highest abortion rate, allows abortions past 24 weeks to save the “life” of the mother, and only doctors may perform them.
The state’s Catholic bishops expressed concern, in a statement, that the legislation would be expanding late-term abortion and that it would be “opening the door for non-doctors to perform abortions.” In addition, the bishops added that they “find the conscience protections in the bill to be vague and insufficient,” and that they “are concerned about the religious liberty of our health facilities.”
Though Cardinal Timothy Dolan said that he is “profoundly distressed” by the governor’s bill, he supports the other nine non-abortion planks. However, he has asked the state’s Catholics to “fully oppose” the legislation as long as it contains the abortion expansion language.
The bill, which is supported by NARAL, drew strong criticism from New York’s GOP state Senate leadership.
Kelly Cummings, spokeswoman for GOP Senate Minority Leader Dean Skellos, referred to the abortion provisions in the bill as “a political maneuver designed to curry favor with the extremists who want to expand late-term abortion, and open the door to non-physicians performing abortions. It’s wrong for New York.”
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League said that Cuomo’s bill may negatively impact the governor’s apparent national political aspirations.
“Andrew Cuomo’s lust for abortion rights has effectively killed his chances of ever becoming president of the United States,” said Donohue. “Once he ventures outside the Empire State he will find out- the way his father Mario did- just how out of touch he is with public sentiment on this life and death issue.”
However, Dave Andrusko, writing for LifeSiteNews, states that Cuomo is rolling out his legislation because he “no doubt already believes that there is electoral gold to be mined by being the most pro-abortion Democratic presidential candidate in a field that will be awash with pro-abortion candidates.”
The theory is that New York is so “pro-choice” that if Cuomo markets the provision in the right verbiage, politicians will fall prostrate at his feet…
Or, as Cuomo has said, “There is a simplicity and a clarity to the ‘choice’ language,” adding, “You’re pro-choice or you’re not pro-choice.” That 70-80% of the American public draws lines in the sand that Cuomo gleefully would erase makes no difference to the son of former pro-abortion New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. In other words, there is a difference between being “pro-choice” in the abstract and accepting abortions long after unborn babies can feel pain or have reached viability.
Andrusko observes a statement by Kirsten Smith, spokeswoman for New Yorkers for Life, in the Daily Gazette. Smith said, “It is fitting that the Governor unveils his abortion expansion language today, on the day that Planned Parenthood has organized buses to come to Albany to support his agenda.”
Smith continued, “One need only follow the money to see that Planned Parenthood’s abortion industry would be the beneficiary of any expansion of late-term abortion in New York…New Yorkers do not benefit.”