Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Help Pols Stop Wasting Time

You wonder why so many people have given up on politicians? The waste of time known as the Reproductive Health Act, which the state legislators are currently spending much too much time on, is a case in point.

Instead of trying to figure how to cut spending, lower our taxes, and balance the debt in the state, our Albany whiz kids, led by Gov. Cuomo, are obsessed with making abortion more accessible in the state.

This is a joke. The people in Albany apparently haven’t figured out that the state policy is already virtually abortion on demand. Kathleen Gallagher, the pro-life point person at the New York State Catholic Conference, pointed this out at a workshop held at St. John’s University in Jamaica, last weekend.  As Gallagher rightly asked, do you know anyone who recently has been denied an abortion in New York State? Just about anyone who wants an abortion can procure one in the current atmosphere.

To make matters worse, our legislators think that it’s not just doctors who should be able to perform abortions. The RHA would allow any licensed health care practitioner, including a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or even a midwife to perform abortions. Does this sound like our lawmakers really are concerned about the health of women, to say nothing about the lives of the unborn children?

RHA will be on the minds of Catholic lobbyists when they visit the state Capitol this Tuesday for the N.Y.S. Catholic Conference’s Public Policy Day. Busloads of Catholic activists will be joined by their bishops as they rally and then visit their local representatives.

But even this positive action has proven frustrating for some. Marion Higgins of St. Robert Bellarmine, Bayside, attended the pro-life conference at St. John’s and said visiting her representatives’ district offices is even a better option. An active pro-lifer for the past decade, she’s attended two previous Public Policy Days and never saw her pro-choice legislator – even with scheduled appointments.

“We Catholics in the pews have to stand up. Our pro-life politicians need to know we have their backs,” Higgins said.

Another conference attendee, Gina Skelton from Our Lady of Hope, Middle Village, will join those in Albany in prayer.

“This is a topic I take seriously,” Skelton said. “I’ve been speaking to my friends about RHA and they’re stunned.” Unfortunately, she added, “when it comes to issues like this, they think it doesn’t affect their lives.”

Affect your lives it does!  The more time our state legislators spend discussing nonsense like RHA and capitulating to financial backers like Planned Parenthood is less time they have to talk about substantive issues, like education, real health care, the state debt, and caring for the least among us.

People of faith have got to get serious about how their beliefs affect public policy and we must hold our elected officials accountable for how they spend their time representing us.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, in a speech on Long Island last weekend, put it best: “We are called to be very active, very informed and very involved in politics.”

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