In his January 9 State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a 10-point plan for so-called “women's equality,” a front-and-center element of which is an abortion expansion scheme that champions of the unborn warn will open the door to late-term abortion on demand.
While Cuomo declined to offer specifics of the proposal, “he is expected to push for provisions similar to those in a bill introduced by Democratic state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins,” reported Fox News. “That bill contains language that would allow abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy if it is 'necessary to protect a woman's health” — a stipulation that critics explain is far different than protecting a woman's life and could be interpreted to allow the abortion of a viable baby late into a pregnancy.
Stewart-Cousins is pressuring her fellow state lawmakers to move quickly on the “crucial legislation,” emphasizing that it would “ensure that regardless of what takes place on the national level, a woman's right to choose will always be protected in New York State.”
The proposal prompted a letter to Cuomo from New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who called the legislation “radical” and told the governor that he was “hard pressed to think of a piece of legislation that is less needed or more harmful than this one.”
Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference, said that Cuomo's abortion push entrenched in his so-called “women's agenda” is little more than a warmed over six-year-old proposal first fronted by disgraced former Governor Eliot Spitzer. She said the proposal, that has been repeatedly rejected as a stand alone bill, “is radical and far out of the mainstream, even by the standards of New York, a state with an abortion rate twice the national average.”
She noted that Stewart-Cousin's bill would “permit more late-term abortions, allow non-doctors to perform abortions, and would preclude any reasonable restrictions on abortion like parental notification. Moreover it would permit the state to pull the operating certificate of Catholic hospitals and agencies that ‘discriminate’ by not performing or referring women for abortions.”
Gallagher pointed out that the bill's extreme nature has prevented it from getting traction in the legislature. “So now the governor is attempting to tie it to important initiatives such as helping victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, and ending pregnancy discrimination in the workplace,” she said, referring to a few of the points in Cuomo's so-called “Women's Equality Act.”
The governor “believes the ‘all-in’ strategy will make it harder to oppose,” Gallagher continued. “The public and lawmakers should not be fooled. We must not let victims of abuse and discrimination be held hostage to Governor Cuomo’s ideologically driven political agenda, an agenda that is extremely harmful to mothers, infants, and religious liberty.”
Gallagher emphasized to reporters that the whole ten-point women's equality agenda “is nine tenths about abortion. This is just a vehicle that he's creating to push through a bill that didn't have any traction or any legs for six years.” She said that if the abortion element of Cuomo's plan — previously known as the “Reproductive Health Act” — were introduced in the legislature as a stand-alone bill, it would fail miserably. “People don't want abortion expansion in New York State,” she said. “It's really unnecessary in a state with the highest abortion rate in the country.”
Pro-life leaders noted that Cuomo is attempting to grab a piece of President Obama's Planned Parenthood pro-abortion banner. On the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's infamous Roe v. Wade decision, as hundreds of thousands of Americans tearfully remembered the over 50 million babies who have been slaughtered in America through abortion, Obama issued a smug statement reaffirming his commitment “to protect the health and reproductive freedom of women across this country and stand by [Roe v. Wade's] guiding principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters, and women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care.”
Similarly, hijacking the serious occasion of the State of the State speech, Cuomo raised an enthusiastic cheer from the audience's liberal-left faction over his extreme abortion measure as he repeatedly chanted, “Because it's her body, it's her choice!”
Among those who have come out in opposition to Cuomo's plan is the group Democrats for Life of New York. Leslie Diaz, the group's spokesperson, warned that the Cuomo/Stewart-Cousins tag-team plan “would legalize abortion through all nine months of pregnancy for virtually any reason and make abortion immune from any reasonable state regulation such as parental notification or informed consent.”
Noting that present New York law make most abortions illegal after 24 weeks of pregnancy, Diaz said the Cuomo measure “would make legal late-term abortions that are now a criminal offense under current penal law.”
She added that “we know the billion-dollar abortion industry preys upon Black and Hispanic families and we know that the Reproductive Health Act will sacrifice more of our children on the government’s altar of convenience. The Reproductive Health Act will result in more abortions in Black and Hispanic communities.”
Democrats for Life claimed that the abortion proposal is even “out of touch with the views of most Democrats,” citing a recent Gallup poll showing a moderate view about abortion among rank-and-file Democrats, compared to the ultra-radical agenda of Obama, Cuomo, and other current Democrat leaders.
Overall Gallup found that only 27 percent of Americans backed legalized abortion under all circumstances. By contrast, the national pollster found that 61 percent of Americans believe abortion should either be more strictly limited or banned altogether.
Photo of Gov. Andrew Cuomo: AP Images