Twice-failed presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) Monday to announce that they would be pushing to codify Roe v. Wade in New York’s law in the next 30 days now that Democrats are in control of the state’s Senate. They plan to do so through a measure that would permit late-term abortions.
New York's current law, which was in place three years prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, prohibits abortions after 24 weeks, the point increasingly understood to be viability, unless the procedure is necessary to save a women's life.
The Reproductive Health Act would permit a “licensed health care practitioner” to perform an abortion “within 24 weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient's life or health.”
It also does away with criminal penalties for self-abortion and defines "'Person,' when referring to the victim of a homicide," to mean "a human being who has been born and is alive."
Both Hillary Clinton and Gov. Cuomo praised the late-term pro-abortion measure. In her speech Monday, Clinton pointed out that New York was the state in which the very first Planned Parenthood opened its doors.
“Our right to make the most deeply personal decision is facing the most significant threats in recent memory,” she said. “This administration has rolled back access to reproductive health services at home and around the world and proposed cuts to international health development and diplomacy that put both women’s lives and our national security at risk.”
Gov. Cuomo lavished praise on Clinton, quipping “I love Hillary, don’t tell Bill.”
“The nation made a terrible mistake and I believe they regret it,” he added, in reference to her 2016 election loss to President Trump.
“Kavanaugh is going to reverse Roe v. Wade, I have no doubt, Gorsuch is going to reverse Roe v. Wade,” he told the crowd, referencing Trump’s recently appointed Supreme Court Justices.
He argued that action was needed to protect abortion access and called the Reproductive Health Act “a state law that is a prophylactic from the federal action” on the abortion issue.
He promised not to pass a budget “until the reproductive health act and the contraceptive care act have passed.”
Kathleen Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference, warned the Catholic Courier last week about the potential consequences of the bill's passage.
She argued that the bill’s proponents have been misleadingly framing it as simply codifying Roe v Wade when in reality it goes much farther.
“One of the stark differences is that Roe v Wade never gave permission for nondoctors to perform abortions, and this bill specifically will allow nondoctors to perform abortions,” she explained. “It also repeals protections that are currently in our law for babies that are accidentally born alive during an abortion.”
Suzanne Stack, life-issues coordinator for the Diocese of Rochester, said the bill “would remove abortion from the state’s penal code, which means there would no longer be a criminal avenue to pursue if a baby dies in the womb through an act of domestic violence or another crime.”
“I doubt that almost any of us in New York state would be comfortable with these provisions, but we have not been offered the facts by most of the media or by many of our legislators,” Stack emphasized to the Courier.
Cuomo is also pushing for adding the right to abortion into New York’s constitution via an amendment.
This year I am calling for a Constitutional Amendment that writes into the NY Constitution protection for a woman's right to control her own reproductive health. In this crazy political environment, we can’t take Roe v. Wade for granted. #RHAin30Days— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 7, 2019