The following column appeared in the print edition of Long Island Catholic Magazine. To subscribe click here.
By Rick Hinshaw
Although some critics have questioned whether his policies have been consistent with his rhetoric, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, upon taking office, presented himself as not a liberal ideologue, but a centrist consensus builder, in confronting our state’s dire economic and fiscal crisis.
Sadly, that has not been the governor’s approach on fundamental moral issues, where he continues to display a belligerent arrogance in pushing a radical agenda, now culminating in his apparent conviction that there just aren’t enough babies being aborted in New York State – even though we are the long-reigning abortion capital of the world!
The governor’s screaming, “her body, her choice” mantra in his State of the State address was embarrassing – both in its Howard Dean-like hysteria (the governor apparently still subscribes to a speechmaking technique that most of us left behind with junior high school, substituting loudness for reason), and in its woeful inaccuracy.
The medical science today is irrefutable: a pre-born child, while in the mother’s womb, is a separate, distinct, living, growing human being; as Andrew Cuomo was in his mother’s womb, as his daughters were in their mother’s womb.
Nevertheless, the governor already has his way: abortion, on demand, is legal in New York State, and has been for 43 years, since before Roe v. Wade.
What he wants to do now is eliminate virtually any limits on abortion, even those with widespread public support. He wants to open the door to many more late term abortions in New York State. He wants to prohibit informed consent laws for women seeking abortions, and parental notification laws for minors having abortions. He wants to require state taxpayers to pay for other people’s abortions. He wants to permit non-physicians to perform abortions, thereby further endangering women. He would threaten the religious freedom of Catholic hospitals not to be involved in abortion, and even undermine the state’s maternity services if they don’t also provide abortions.
All these things the governor’s abortion expansion bill will do; it would not simply “codify” Roe v. Wade in New York State law, as his spokesman falsely claims; it would go far beyond even the extremism of that U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which unleashed a carnage that to date has destroyed some 55 million innocent human lives.
As Bishop Murphy pointed out in an interview with the National Catholic Register (available here), our Catholic governor’s “her body, her choice” formulation pointedly excludes God from any role in the creation of new life, and the natural law of God from any consideration of an unborn child’s right to exist.
But of course Gov. Cuomo’s belief that he can arbitrarily override God’s natural law is nothing new. He did it last year with same sex “marriage,” arrogating to himself the power to repeal the natural order, which so self-evidently makes marriage metaphysically possible only between a man and a woman.
After easily getting the same sex “marriage” bill through the Democrat-majority Assembly last year, he also got the cooperation of the Republican leadership to bring it to the Senate floor, where the votes of several Senate Republicans helped it to pass.
The Republican Senate leadership is vowing that that will not happen with this bill, that they will block the abortion expansion proposal from passage. We should support them in that stand and hold them to it. The bill should not be brought to the floor for a vote, regardless of the predictable outcry from the governor and his supporters that that would be thwarting “the democratic process.” The right of innocent people to live should never be subject to popular vote. That is the very essence of a “tyranny of the majority” that James Madison warned about, and that our Constitution, with its guarantee of certain natural rights – beginning with the right to life — is designed to safeguard against.
Please go the New York State Catholic Conference website (nyscatholic.org) to learn more about this bill; then please let your Assembly member and state Senator know – forcefully and repeatedly – that you expect them to do all they can to block the governor’s abortion expansion bill.