The Catholic Thing
Cuomo’s “Abortion Expansion Act” Print E-mail
By George J. Marlin   
Thursday, 21 March 2013

Barely two weeks before the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York screamed four times during his State of the State Address:  “It’s her body; it’s her choice!” and promised to press for passage of the Reproductive Health Act that some are calling the Abortion Expansion Act.

Frankly, what the governor hopes to achieve is mind boggling, particularly since New York has had an abortion law on the books since 1970 – three years before Roe – and has held the grim distinction for decades as the abortion capital of the nation.

There are more abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 to 44 in New York than any other state in the nation. 

Total Abortions vs. Rate per Thousand Women, 15-44 years

U.S.A. Rate
N.Y. Rate

In New York City, where most of the state’s abortions are performed, the Health Department has reported that in 2009 there were 121,745 births and 80,629 abortions. In other words, 40 percent of all pregnancies in New York City were terminated.  And in addition:  the abortion rate in NYC for African-Americans is 60 percent, for Hispanics 41 percent – and 45 percent of births happen out of wedlock.

Despite these gruesome statistics, the Reproductive Health Act could revise the state abortion law by repealing the 24-week limit and permitting late-term abortions when the mother’s health is in danger or if the fetus is not viable.

In determining a mother’s health, various factors that could be considered include age, emotional maturity, and economic and social status.  Under these terms, an abortion would essentially be permissible at any time for almost any reason.

Licensed healthcare practitioners, not just licensed physicians, could also be permitted to perform abortions.  “This dangerous and extreme change,” the New York Catholic Conference has observed, “clearly puts women’s health at risk and mirrors a national abortion strategy to permit non-doctors to perform abortions due to the declining numbers of physicians willing to do so.”

         Andrew M. Cuomo

Abortion could be codified as a “fundamental right of privacy” – a classification even the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected.  New York could not authorize regulations that would permit parental consent or notification, and it could not limit or abolish taxpayer-funded abortions.

New York’s abortion law could also be reclassified.  Instead of being part of the state’s penal code, it could come under public health laws.

The Catholic Conference has publicly stated that such a proposal is “unnecessary, extreme and dangerous” and would endanger the religious liberty of Catholic institutions.  The limited conscience protection is ambiguous.  It does not offer protection for “institutional providers such as religious hospitals and other agencies that do not wish to be involved with abortion.” There would be no discrimination against a person’s fundamental right to an abortion in the “provision of benefits, facilities, services or information.” This could be interpreted to mean that state regulators could insist that state-licensed or funded health institutions make available abortion procedures.

Andrew Cuomo, who has moved to the far left of the political spectrum as his attention has turned to the national stage, wants to impose his pro-abortion views on everyone.  This might even be too much for his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo, who claimed during his tenure that while he was personally opposed to abortion, as a public official it would be wrong to impose his view on all New Yorkers.

A recent poll commissioned by the Chiaroscuro Foundation and performed by pollster John McLaughlin, indicates that in his quest to please the NARAL crowd, Cuomo is pushing the envelope too far.

Here’s what the survey revealed: 

  • 80 percent oppose unlimited abortion through the ninth month of pregnancy;
  • 75 percent oppose permitting “licensed health care practitioners” from performing abortions;
  • 89 percent oppose abortions for reducing twins or triplets to a single child;
  • 92 percent oppose abortion for sex selection;
  • 87 percent favor giving pregnant women options information before making a decision;
  • 78 percent approve a 24-hour waiting period;
  • 76 percent approve parental notification for minors seeking abortions;
  • 68 percent favor giving women who carry their pregnancy to term free medical care.

It is pretty amazing that, even in a state as dark blue as New York, citizens believe Cuomo’s support of abortion expansion is way out of the political mainstream.

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who has said that he “shivers” over the state’s chilling abortion statistics, has been leading the charge against abortion expansion plans:  “I am hard pressed to think of a piece of legislation that is less needed or more harmful than this one. . . .It’s as though, in [lawmakers’] minds our state motto ‘Excelsior’ (Ever Upward) applies to the abortion rate.”

Let’s hope opponents who held a protest march on Tuesday at the State Capitol in Albany, learned something from their botched attempt to stop same-sex marriage will now use their clout more effectively to bottle up or kill Cuomo’s plans.

George J. Marlin is an editor of The Quotable Fulton Sheen and the author of The American Catholic VoterHis most recent book is Narcissist Nation: Reflections of a Blue-State Conservative.
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

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Comments (11)Add Comment
written by Manfred, March 21, 2013
O.K., thank you for all the statistics, Mr. Marlin. Now what? I meet people every day in CT, NJ, and PA who "used to live in NY" including my own family. Cdl Dolan is 'leading the charge"? Please. How serious can the problem be in the hierarchy's eyes if not one of these "catholic" politicians has been excommunicated anywhere in this country? Face the facts: the hierarchy of the U.S. does not have the temperment nor the will to take any substantial steps because these steps will jeopardize State and Federal monies used to fund "catholic schools and hospitals". Small wonder the laity is so rife with cynicism.It sees Catholic teachings are little more than "opinions" when it comes to practical affairs. Why even Biden and Pelosi were allowed to receive Communion in the Vatican at the Pope's Inaugural Mass! The good news is that baseball season will soon begin and Cdl Dolan will have the opportunity for more photo ops with a Yankee cap, a hot dog and a beer.
written by william manley, March 21, 2013
Gov. Cuomo agrees that the fetus is human life, but he disagrees that it is a human life. Where is his Catholically formed conscience?
written by Chris in Maryland, March 21, 2013
Manfred is right.

Among some of the most empty gestures in the Catholic Church in America are joint statements forged by the Catholic Bishops in the state of New York.
written by Ernest Miller, March 21, 2013
Manfred may be a lonely voice in the desert, but he always offers the correct analysis.

Personally, I am so tempted to throw in the towel. Then I think, that is just what [they] want.

So, I continue to support my local church, my own soul, and conclude that the chips will fall as the may; I make no difference whatsoever.
written by Mack Hall, March 21, 2013
Beyond all arguments, that matter which is especially disturbing is the Molochian enthusiasm of child-murderers --they really do want to see little corpses piled higher and higher. What feeds their insatiable appetite for mass murder?
written by Maggie-Louise, March 21, 2013
Yes, Manfred is exactly right. Every time I hear that we, the laity, should be out "evangelizing", I think these same thoughts and say to myself, "You've got to be kidding." I could spend all day every day evangelizing in one way or another, and all it would take is 15 seconds on the evening news, seeing Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Biden receiving Communion at the Vatican and Cardinal Dolan yucking it up with Obama. All my evangelees would laugh in my face. "Yeah, right. You want me to become one of them? Not on your tintype."

Evangelization has to begin where it has always begun: with the Apostles--their living a holy life and dying a holy martyrdom. They might even evangelize a few Catholics who turn up for Sunday Mass when it's raining too hard for golf.
written by Frank, March 21, 2013
There is bad news and worse news. The bad news is that Andrew Cuomo is a shrill maniac. The worse news is that he's an elected shrill maniac. I think there's more laity out there willing to shed their blood for the church than the Cardinals who wear the red because someone believed they had the bona fides and the cred that a Cardinal is willing to give their life for the Church. The Vatican is a Nation-State in which the Church is governed. But we need to see more Church and less Nation-State so that leaders who hold positions contrary to the Church and are Catholic, not show their faces or be welcome at major Vatican events. With respect to Cardinal Dolan, he's a paper tiger for now. Whether he sharpens his teeth and gets some courage and a pair, forget about it!
written by Tony Esolen, March 21, 2013
My experience with leftist and secular academics, in a Catholic college, suggests that charity and simple kindness can sometimes do wonders, but that playing-along does nothing good at all, and may be even worse than direct attack. They will hate you if you attack their idols, but they will despise you if you make nice. I'd rather be hated than despised (yes, there is a difference). Might as well fight.
written by curt lampkin, March 21, 2013
Imagine someone yelling "it's the slave owner's slave. It's the owner's right to do whatever he wants to the slave."
And, yes, I wish Cardinal Dolan at least had the courage to deny Cuomo Communion.
written by Benedicte Sage-Fuller, March 22, 2013
I wrote a blog about abortion in France, published this morning at the Constitution of Ireland wbsite.
The ideological horror is spreading everywhere...
written by Janet Baker, March 24, 2013
The thing is, this attitude among our clergy and laity was manufactured at Vatican II, and as long as we have the words that fuel it, we're stuck. It's like a spell on us. The infection stems from us giving up the right to the religious state and endorsing the secular state. Along with that comes the mentality that our job in our various countries is to 'form consciences,' but not to pass legislation that imposes Catholic values on the population. Thus Benedict could write when he was Ratzinger that we Catholics should sponsor, vote for, and pass legislation that protects homosexuals from all forms of discrimination--it's still up on the Vatican website and still controls our actions and was the inspiration ultimately for gay marriage. The same for abortion--Hungary has passed a law against it, and the Vatican has attacked them for it over and over, never a word of support (see Stefan Bos, Vatican Radio, three weeks ago). Benedict praised Obama to the stars, praised the Obama supporter Obama appointed to be Vatican ambassador, and especially praised American democracy, which with the election of Obama proved its "vitality." I kid you not. May I say I have a post on my blog from watching outside an abortion clinic. Just google Another Ordinary Day, White Lily blog and you'll get there. I'd appreciate your reading it, it was so painful to experience. I have many times had the sad thought that if we were successful in getting Roe reversed, the Vatican would not support us. That's Vatican II!! That's the source of the spell we're under.

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