By Kathleen M. Gallagher
In response to the new Texas law that protects unborn children from abortion after their hearts begin to beat, New York State politicians appear to be somewhat hysterical. They held a political event earlier this month in Central Park, blasting the law as “shocking,” “draconian” and “dangerous.” They whooped and hollered and cheered New York’s forward-thinking on the issue of abortion.
New York’s new governor, Kathy Hochul, joined U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and scores of state legislators for the occasion. Governor Hochul called the Texas law “grotesquely unfair” and vowed to ensure that New York would be a “safe harbor” for anyone seeking an abortion. She laid out a series of steps she plans to take, including the development of a patients’ “Bill of Rights for Abortion Care.”
Seriously? Is there anyone in the country who doesn’t know that New York is the abortion capital of the world? New York legalized abortion three years before Roe v Wade, has one of the highest abortion rates of any state, and expanded its abortion law in 2019 to allow abortions to be performed by non-doctors, even through the ninth month of pregnancy. There are effectively no restrictions on abortion here, and abortions are virtually free of charge — Medicaid pays for them for women who are poor, and commercial health insurance policies are forced to cover them, with no co-pays allowed.
The 2019 Reproductive Health Act (RHA) specifically codified a pregnant person’s fundamental right to choose to either carry the pregnancy to term and give birth or have an abortion. Where is the NY Bill of Rights for women who choose to give birth? Shouldn’t they be informed of where they can get good prenatal care, the health insurance to cover it, and child care for their babies? Why is abortion always considered the highest good?
No woman celebrates abortion the way New York politicians did when they lit up state buildings upon the signing of the expanded abortion law. Or the way they just did in Central Park as they engaged in political posturing to see who could be the most pro-abortion elected official on the planet.
Abortion is a tragedy for both mother and child. Science makes clear that abortion ends the life of a developing human. It’s not the same as losing an appendix or losing your tonsils. People may disagree on the level of protection a developing unborn child deserves in law, but for the sake of women and the agonizing decisions they sometimes face, let’s not pretend that abortion is a societal good to cheer about at a political rally.
Kathleen M. Gallagher is the director of Pro-Life Activities for the New York State Catholic Conference.