Evan Puschak reports that Catholic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is crafting a bill which would allow late-term abortions in his state:
Cuomo is reportedly putting the finishing touches on a new Reproductive Health Act, which would ensure a woman’s right to a late-term abortion if her health is at risk or the fetus is non-viable.
The new legislation would be in keeping with the governor’s promises at his recent State of the State address, in which he outlined a ten-part Women’s Equality Act to expand women’s rights and strengthen anti-discrimination statutes. “Maybe it’s a man’s world, but it is not a man’s world in New York. Not anymore,” Cuomo said.
Though the late-term abortion provision is only one aspect of the Women’s Equality Act, it stands as the most visible and controversial element. Current New York law allows late-term abortions (after 24 weeks) only if the mother’s life is at risk. This limitation is not enforced, however, as superseding federal rulings permit late-term abortions to protect a woman’s health as well as her life. The Reproductive Health Act would also allow licensed health care practitioners, not just physicians, to preform abortions, and it would remove abortion from the penal code to regulate it through the state’s health law.
NYC Cardinal Timothy Dolan is pushing back in a letter to the governor:
I would be remiss if I did not renew my great disappointment regarding your continued support for the radical Reproductive Health Act. I know that you appreciate the fact that millions of New Yorkers of all faiths, or none at all, share a deep respect for all human life from conception to natural death. I also know that you are aware that New York State’s abortion rate is, incredibly, double the national average. Sadly, nearly 4 in 10 pregnancies statewide end in abortion. In some parts of New York City, the rate is higher than 60 percent, mostly in the impoverished Black and Latino communities.
As we have discussed in the past, we obviously disagree on the question of the legality of abortion, but surely we are in equally strong agreement that the abortion rate in New York is tragically high. There was a time when abortion supporters claimed they wanted to make abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” Yet this measure is specifically designed to expand access to abortion, and therefore to increase the abortion rate. I am hard pressed to think of a piece of legislation that is less needed or more harmful than this one.
Farther south, the Arkansas senate passed a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks:
The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act passed the Senate, 25-7, with amendments that allowed for the exemptions in the case of rape or incest. An earlier version of the bill that passed the Republican-controlled House allowed exemptions only for pregnancies that threatened the mother’s life. The bill, which shortens the existing limit of 25 weeks, now returns to the House for consideration of the Senate amendment. Democratic Governor Mike Beebe has not said whether he would sign the bill into law.