NY Bishops Slam ‘Abortion Expansion’ of Reproductive Health Act

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, speaks to reporters during a news conference in New York, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Dolan helped to announce a new program intended to provide reconciliation and compensation for victims of sexual abuse by clergy. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
AP Photo/Seth Wenig
THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.

The Catholic bishops of New York State issued a statement Friday decrying new legislation proposing “abortion expansion” to a state whose abortion rate is already double the national average.

“Words are insufficient to describe the profound sadness we feel at the contemplated passage of New York State’s new proposed abortion policy,” stated the bishops, led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. “We mourn the unborn infants who will lose their lives, and the many mothers and fathers who will suffer remorse and heartbreak as a result.”

New York’s Reproductive Health Act (Senate Bill S2796) will make access to abortion a “fundamental right,” while expanding the law to facilitate late-term abortions.

State Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to make sure the measure passes within the first 30 days of the legislative session and has received backing from former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who declared, “There’s no time to wait” to codify Roe v. Wade into New York law.

“The so-called ‘Reproductive Health Act’ will expand our state’s already radically permissive law, by empowering more health practitioners to provide abortion and removing all state restrictions on late-term procedures,” the bishops note in their statement.

“With an abortion rate that is already double the national average, New York law is moving in the wrong direction,” they said.

Along with enshrining abortion into law as a fundamental right, the Act also redefines “person” as “a human being who has been born and is alive,” eliminating the possibility of recognizing the personhood of an unborn child. During her presidential campaign in 2016, Hillary Clinton stated that “the unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.”

In response, the bishops reiterated their promise to provide care and services to women with problem pregnancies.

“We renew our pledge to offer the resources and services of our charitable agencies and health services to any woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, to support her in bearing her infant, raising her family or placing her child for adoption,” they state. “There are life-affirming choices available, and we aim to make them more widely known and accessible.”

The bishops end their statement by lamenting the doublespeak of the nominally Catholic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo.

“Our Governor and legislative leaders hail this new abortion law as progress,” they said. “This is not progress.”

“Progress will be achieved when our laws and our culture once again value and respect each unrepeatable gift of human life, from the first moment of creation to natural death. Would that not make us truly the most enlightened and progressive state in the nation?” they stated.

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