Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), a Catholic, said earlier this month that he would sign the legislation if it were to be passed, and that he hopes to add abortion rights to the state’s constitution. This process could begin next year.
The bill was passed on the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that found a woman had a legal right to receive abortion in the United States.
“Our beloved state has become a more dangerous one for women and their unborn babies,” read a statement from the NYSCC.
The act codified into law the finding of Roe v. Wade, meaning that abortion would remain legal in New York even if the case were to be overturned by the Supreme Court.
While the law officially limits abortion to the first 24 weeks gestation, abortion is permitted at a later gestational age for reasons related to the wellbeing of the mother. Additionally, the bill removes act of abortion from the criminal code, and instead places it in the public-health code, and strips most safeguards and regulations on the procedure. Non-doctors will now be permitted to perform abortions.
Writing on his official blog on the eve of the bill’s passage, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York said bishops are not supposed to be “politicians or culture warriors,” but said that the new law was an affront to the rights of the most vulnerable.
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“If our governor, senate, and assembly has their way, abortion will be legal up to the moment of birth; those large numbers of healthcare professionals who find the termination of pre-born babies repugnant will have no conscience rights to object; trained physicians will be not be required to perform the dismemberment; and a baby who survives the scalpel, saline, or suction, and is still alive, can be left to die without any care.”
“This is ‘progressive’?” Dolan asked.
“All people have rights: the immigrant, the poor, the pregnant woman… and her baby. All God’s children, Reverend [Martin Luther] King would insist, are equal and have rights,” the cardinal concluded, recalling the recent observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Day.