Planned Parenthood has claimed about 92 House members and 22 Senate members as co-sponsors of the legislation, numbered H. 3320 and S. 1209. These backers include Senate President Emerita Harriette Chandler and Speaker Pro Tempore Pat Haddad.
Jim Lyons, chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, characterized it as an "extreme infanticide bill" that "removes all practical limitations on aborting unborn babies." The bill would mean "absolutely nothing would be done to protect or even comfort a baby who survives a late-term abortion," he objected.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston stressed that abortion involves vital questions of human dignity and cannot be described in "purely medical terms."
"While the procedure has significant clinical dimensions, there is also a human reality that deserves more adequate recognition at any stage of development. By depersonalizing the reality, the legislation dehumanizes the decision faced by women, their families and physicians," the cardinal said April 6.
O'Malley said even those who back the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which helped mandate legal abortion nationwide, should oppose the state law proposals.
He criticized provisions that allow legal abortion in "all nine months of pregnancy;" ban requirements that abortions be performed in hospitals, even late into pregnancy; bar requirements to care for a child who survives an attempted abortion; and prevent any requirement that a minor receive parental consent before undergoing an abortion.
Haddad, one of the co-sponsors, still backed the bill.
"Late-term abortions are for very specific reasons that should be decided with a medical professional and the family involved," she said, according to the State House News Service. She objected said that women presently leave the state to seek abortion in cases of fatal anomaly.
"We're talking a fetus that can't survive outside the womb. We're talking about a fetus that has no future," said Haddad, denying the legislation constituted "abortion on demand."
For Aden, of Americans Untied for Life, pro-abortion legislation of "radical extremism" only produces "a strong reaction on the other side."
"You see many more states this legislative season looking to protect life at the earliest possible stages," he said. "That's why you see a lot of interest in personhood bills, a lot of interest in heartbeat bills."
(Story continues below)
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He suggested that pro-abortion rights advocates have been slow to see the importance of state legislatures and to recognize "what Americans United for Life and other pro-life groups have known for years: that politics is local, and that anything that happens in large part to move the ball down the field against abortion happens in state houses."
In strongly pro-abortion rights legislatures, he said, abortion advocates are "not really breaking new ground."
"They're just looking to solidify gains that have been in those places for many years," he said.
While New York's bill was, in Aden's view, one of the most radical, " the truth is I don't know what really more New York could do more to promote abortion.
"It pays for it with state Medicaid funds, there are virtually no restrictions on abortion facilities in New York, they make life very hard for pro-life pregnancy centers, and yet the numbers of abortions in New York have been dropping steadily year by year," he told CNA. "No matter what they do, it seems, the right to life and the commitment of many others to the culture of life is still winning, in New York and other places."
While the Republican Party has tended to support abortion restrictions in recent decades, with the Democratic Party strongly on the side of abortion, some Democrats have backed recent bills at the state level.