A bill pushed hard by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would have given New York women the “right” to abort their babies after 24 weeks of pregnancy has failed in the State Senate, killing the measure for now. The measure was a central plank of Cuomo's supposed “women's equality” platform that he touted in his January 9 State of the State address and which he promised to push in the spring legislative session.
Bloomberg News reported that the state legislature's Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), “a group of four Democrats who run the senate with Republicans, introduced nine of Cuomo’s 10 Women’s Equality Agenda (WEA) measures [June 16], including enhanced penalties for human traffickers and increased legal damages for women who aren’t paid equally.” But, added the report, the group of liberal lawmakers “left out the governor’s abortion plank.”
The abortion bill would have effectively legalized abortion in New York after 24 weeks in cases where a woman's health is supposedly in danger. Pro-life leaders argued that the measure would have given abortionists de facto authority to perform abortions late into a pregnancy.
Cuomo, who is being mentioned as a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, insisted that the measure would protect women from a possible Supreme Court reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. But reporting before the bill was killed, World magazine noted that the measure would have gone further, “removing criminal penalties for abortion. It removes homicide charges for the baby if a murderer kills a pregnant woman. The proposal also would repeal the criminal code against second-degree abortion — a statute, for example, that resulted in a guilty plea for a man who attempted to abort a woman’s baby by putting a drug in her drink.”
An angry Cuomo said the IDC move was a mistake that could come back to haunt the lawmakers. “This is going to be an electoral decision, and it’s going to be in the re-election campaigns of these senators,” he warned.
Jeff Klein, a Bronx lawmaker who leads the IDC, insisted that his group supported the measure all along but recognized that there was too much opposition from a core of Republican legislators. “This legislative process is the art of negotiation,” Klein said in a statement. “The IDC would like nothing more than to bring this provision to the floor, but the votes just are not there.”
LifeSiteNews.com reported that after the measure was introduced as one of the 10 WEA points, Senate Republican Dean Skelos said that his party would stand firm against the abortion plank. “Skelos had added that Republicans support the rest of the bill's other nine aims, which include increased measures to tackle human trafficking,” reported LifeSite.
Similarly, over the past several days New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan emphasized that Catholics also supported the rest of WEA, but would oppose the abortion plank. Dolan noted that the bill added “a broad and undefined 'health' exception for late-term abortion and would repeal the portion of the penal law that governs abortion policy, opening the door for non-doctors to perform abortions and potentially decriminalizing even forced or coerced abortions.”
Lori Kehoe of the New York State Right to Life Committee said the abortion provision amounted to “nothing more than a Trojan Horse — a beautifully gift-wrapped package of death and destruction.” Before the death of the bill she warned that the measure “involves enshrining a barbaric federal law from the last century. Under Roe v. Wade, abortionists like Kermit Gosnell can kill babies with a heartbeat, babies capable of feeling pain, babies who are full term and waiting to be born. Instead of protecting these children, the governor is dragging New York in the wrong direction. Current law states that only a duly licensed physician may perform an abortion. This bill repeals that section and allows anyone to perform an abortion.”
Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life added that “as the inhuman details of Kermit Gosnell’s ‘house of horrors’ trial continue to resonate, it is irresponsible for Governor Cuomo to advance a ‘Back-Alley Abortionist Empowerment Act’ seeking to remove all medically and legally appropriate protections for women and girls considering abortion. Why should women die through the misdeeds of New York abortionists unregulated, unmonitored, and free to provide horrific care?”
As reported in January by The New American, New York City's health department announced that in 2010, 40 percent of all pregnancies in the city ended in abortion. In fact, the city's abortion rate is twice the national average, with some 83,000 babies killed in 2010 via abortion. Among teen and black moms, the killing is particularly heavy. According to the city's health department statistics, 63 percent of pregnant teens aborted their babies in 2010, and 60 percent of pregnancies in the city's black community were ended through abortion.
Photo of Gov. Andrew Cuomo: AP Images