By Catherine Donohoe, President of The Bridge To Life, and recipient of the Lincoln Dinner Sanctity of Life Award.
Conservative Republicans have had run-ins with our New York State governor. One I can remember was back in 2014. He told us that our values didn’t belong in New York State. At the time, he was pushing his abortion agenda, the HHS Mandate, or Abortion Expansion Act. We maintained a majority in the Senate, so he was not able to push his agenda. In 2018, however, during the midterm elections, we lost our majority, giving Cuomo and state Democrats free reign with regards to abortion expansion. If our inalienable right to life, which is the starting point for all other human rights is attacked or denied, all other rights and liberties start to crumble.
All people of good faith, or without faith, are called to uphold every human’s right to life. This is a special time in America to secure the right to life because we have the most pro-life President in office.
On January 22, 2019, the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (the Supreme Court decision that declared an absolute constitutional right to abortion), Cuomo signed into law the Reproductive Health Act which he himself called the most aggressive abortion law in the country. It was then celebrated by his lighting up the Freedom Tower and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany.
In 1970 the State of New York legalized abortion performed by licensed physicians up to 24 weeks or later to preserve the “life” of the woman. Roe v. Wade, was decided three years later, so even if Roe were to be overturned sometime in the future, New York law would have still permitted abortion under the 1970 law. The 2019 Reproductive Health Act, (RHA) does not simply codify Roe- it goes way beyond Roe.
RHA declares abortion as a “fundamental right” and that the state may not discriminate, deny or interfere with this right. This fundamental right would supersede even the right of conscience. It empowers non-doctors to perform abortions. This doesn’t protect the woman’s health. New York law formerly required a second physician to be on hand to care for a child twenty (20) weeks or older born alive during the course of an abortion, to provide immediate legal protection. The RHA repealed such protection for a born-alive infant, essentially authorizing infanticide. In my opinion, allowing non physicians to perform surgical abortions puts a woman’s life in jeopardy, saying nothing about the child’s life.
RHA allows criminals to get away with assault upon pregnant women because it removes the criminal penalties when an unborn child is deliberately targeted for death in a crime.(1) In addition, as Michele Sterlace-Accorsi, Executive Director of Feminists Choosing Life of New York, points out: “relevant abortion related provisions in New York’s criminal statuses allow women to hold abusers accountable for the death of their wanted unborn children, and for coerced abortions. If RHA is enacted, women can no longer hold violent partners criminally accountable for killing wanted unborn children.”
On a human level, this gruesome law should be appalling to all people. We need to stay vigilant. This law is an abomination that cries out to heaven for justice. We need to do everything in our power to appeal RHA. We have to remember that elections have consequences. If we don’t speak up for the voiceless, who will?
I invite you to get involved. Support pro-life candidates. Stay informed. Attend the Right to Life March in Washington, DC. Support local woman support centers like The Bridge To Life and New Beginnings, Center of Hope so that we can continue to offer women life affirming choices for their families. Now is the time to make a difference.