Over the weekend, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) announced that he plans to relax his state’s abortion law, and allow women to obtain late-term abortions if their health is at stake. It provides more latitude against the current statute, which says the only legal justification for a late-term abortion – as defined by the Supreme Court – is when the pregnancy threatens the mother’s health. Not surprisingly, pro-life activists are nervous.
Aaron Blake of the Washington Post wrote on February 20 that:
…while abortion rights very much remain a 50-50 issue in American society, late-term abortion is particularly charged.
A recent USA Today/Gallup poll showed that 80 percent of Americans oppose late-term abortion — generally defined (and defined in the poll) as occurring in the final three months of a pregnancy. That compares to 64 percent who think it should be illegal in the second trimester and just 31 percent who say it should be illegal in the first three months.
So why would Cuomo do such an unpopular thing? Well, in actuality, he’s not. When you add the health of the mother to the equation, opposition to late-term abortion drops dramatically.
A 2003 ABC News poll showed that while 62 percent thought late-term abortions should generally be illegal, 61 percent said they should be legal if there is a “serious threat to the woman’s health.”
A “serious threat” is a highly subjective phrase. There’s a multitude of things people can consider “serious,” while others might find less severe. Furthermore, it gives abortionists room to argue that more restrictions protecting life should be whittle down. Additionally, this 2003 poll was taken during the year when the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act was passed. However, I think even the most ardent pro-lifer would agree that in an extraordinary circumstance, such as a pregnancy threatening the life of the mother, a late-term abortion is regrettably necessary.
Nevertheless, this Cuomo’s bill is about lowering the bar to allow such grisly procedures to be conducted under the banner of American progressivism. The New York Times, which first reported on this depraved development on February 16, stated:
Mr. Cuomo’s proposal, which has not yet been made public, would also clarify that licensed health care practitioners, and not only physicians, can perform abortions. It would remove abortion from the state’s penal law and regulate it through the state’s public health law.
Abortion rights advocates have welcomed Mr. Cuomo’s plan, which he outlined in general terms as part of a broader package of women’s rights initiatives in his State of the State address in January. But the Roman Catholic Church and anti-abortion groups are dismayed; opponents have labeled the legislation the Abortion Expansion Act.
The editorial board of the National Review opined that:
where it [Cuomo's abortion bill] regulates, it regulates the wrong parties in the wrong way. But it also deregulates with equal disregard: It would among other things allow persons other than physicians to perform abortions. That is an innovation borrowed from Jerry Brown’s California, where midwives and nurses are permitted to perform abortions. The State of New York will not permit a burly man to lift a box without a state permit to operate a moving company, but gynecological surgery apparently is to be considered a matter for immediate regulatory relief.
New York does not want for access to abortion. Two in five pregnancies end in abortion in New York City; the rate for black women is 60 percent. The statewide figures are lower, but they are high enough. There are about 250 abortion clinics in the state, and 93 percent of the state’s women live in a county that is home to an abortion facility, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Nationally, abortion kills the equivalent of the combined populations of Atlanta and Cleveland every year. All that with no help from Governor Cuomo.
Governor Cuomo’s bill is not about easing access to abortion — those bloody skids already are well-greased. The issue is political domination. The abortion party does not brook resistance, and it steadfastly seeks to ensure that everybody has a hand in its grisly business: taxpayers, employers, priests. All must be implicated. If a religious hospital declines to provide abortions, then it must be forced to do so. If a counseling center treats adoption as preferable to abortion, it will either change its mind or have its mind changed for it by the gentle persuasion of the State of New York.
As George Will said in the wake of Sandra Fluke – and Slutgate– this is what liberalism looks like after one hundred years of maturation.
This is what the progressive state does. It tries to break all the institutions of civil society, all the institutions that mediate between the individual and the state. They have to break them to the saddle of the state.
It’s a frightening thought since Gov. Cuomo has presidential ambitions in 2016. Should conservatives rename him Gov. Baby-Killer with this radical shift in policy that permits infanticide? Given the horrors that will ensue, it would be apt for them to do so.