Washington D.C., Jan 25, 2019 / 14:00 pm
New York’s newly-signed abortion law permits abortion for any reason up until the 24th week of a pregnancy, and then afterwards in cases to protect the “life and health” of the mother, but what does this mean?
Opponents of the Reproductive Health Act, signed into law Tuesday, say it will result in the killing of healthy, viable, unborn babies. The law’s supporters point to the “life and health” clause as a protection of real medical discretion. What exactly is the “life and health of the mother” in law? One Catholic law professor told CNA that it adds up to near abortion-on-demand.
According to Professor Lucia A. Silecchia of the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, the term is “one of the most notoriously vague provisions in abortion jurisprudence,” and is included in various opinions and laws without any sort of clear definition as to what it actually means.
Because of the ambiguity, Silecchia said, the phrase is “amenable to widely-varying definitions and interpretations” that “leave enormous discretion to the professional judgment of an individual healthcare provider.” Under the new law in New York, which permits non-doctors to perform abortions, this person does not necessarily even need to be a licensed physician.