“If you are right-to-life” you are an “extremist”; and “there is no place for you in New York State.”
Thus did our governor, Andrew Cuomo, a Catholic –- as his spokesman emphasized in an almost comical attempt to re-spin the governor’s embarrassing diatribe — tell the vast majority of church-going Catholics (whom polls show to be solidly pro-life) that there is no place for us in the state he apparently thinks he rules.
Last spring, I deplored the governor’s “belligerent arrogance” as he pushed his pro-abortion agenda. Now he has taken that arrogance and belligerence to a new low, attempting to marginalize anyone who has the temerity to disagree with him.
It is an old political tactic, of course, to characterize those who disagree with you as “extremist,” thus rendering them outcasts not only from respectable political discourse, but from civil society. This is especially useful when one finds an opponent’s arguments difficult to refute, or one’s own position difficult to defend on the merits. But as long as Cuomo is so loosely tossing around the epithet, let’s look at where his own abortion agenda falls on the ideological spectrum.
A new Knights of Columbus/Marist Poll is instructive. “More than four decades after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade,” the survey finds, “the vast majority of Americans are still very uncomfortable with the reality of widespread abortion in the United States.
“This new survey of Americans finds strong support for abortion restrictions – including among those who identify as ‘strongly pro-choice.’ Eighty-four percent of Americans would limit abortion to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy, with 58 percent of strongly pro-choice Americans supporting such limits.”
The poll “found that almost three-quarters of Americans (74 percent) favor a ban on abortions after 20 weeks except to save the life of the mother, a majority of Americans (53 percent) believe life begins at conception, and more than 6 in 10 (62 percent) think abortion is morally wrong.”
“Other key findings:
• 80 percent support parental notification before a minor can obtain an abortion.
• 79 percent support a 24-hour waiting period prior to having an abortion.
• 76 percent oppose allowing abortions to be performed by non-doctors.
• 62 percent want to change laws to allow for some restrictions on abortion.
• 58 percent support showing a woman an ultrasound image of her baby at least a day before an abortion.
• 57 percent believe abortion does a woman more harm than good in the long run.
• 55 percent — including 6 in 10 Millennials (adults 18 to 32) — want continued debate on the abortion issue.”
While perhaps not yet supporting full legal protection for pre-born children, the majority of Americans are clearly closer to that position than they are to Roe v. Wade’s mandate of virtually unrestricted abortion, at any time for any reason. And, while New York is admittedly among the most liberal states in the nation, there is little doubt that at least a sizeable minority of New Yorkers – if not a majority – would also support some of these common sense abortion restrictions.
For Andrew Cuomo, however, Roe did not go far enough! He is pushing for legislation that would take New York beyond the mandates of that ruling: allowing non-physicians to perform abortions; forcing taxpayers to pay for other people’s abortions; and prohibiting virtually any of the common sense restrictions supported by significant majorities, such as informed consent, a 24 hour waiting period, or parental notification. And, far from agreeing with the majority’s call for “more debate,” our governor says if you dare to debate his pro-abortion agenda “there is no place for you in New York State.”
So who, exactly, is the abortion “extremist”?
Andrew Cuomo has given us another example of something I’ve written about before: the intolerance of the ‘tolerant’, those self-appointed paragons of enlightenment who constantly lecture the rest of us on being “inclusive” – even as, like King Andrew, they presume the moral authority to exclude any whose views and values they will not tolerate.