How the New York Times reports pro-abortion Gov. Cuomo’s “Reproductive Health Act”

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-Abortion NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Pro-Abortion NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo

News about pro-abortion New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Reproductive Health Act” is reaching critical mass, even though the presidential wannabe has not officially submitted the legislation (he is “putting the finishing touches” on it). The RHA received its official coming out party/bad housekeeping seal of approval with the New York Times headline, “Cuomo Bucks Tide With Bill to Ease Limits on Abortion.”

NRL News Today has already carried a number of stories and in a second I’ll remind newcomers just how nutso the law is. But the headline tells you why Cuomo’s initiative is getting such crazy love from the abortion community.

For two years they’ve been on the defensive in the state legislatures. Well, enough of that! Let’s take the law of one of the earliest states to open the doors to abortion (1970–prior to Roe) and pretend that it is some sort of act of courage to make abortion even easier, more readily available in a state whose most prominent city has a 40% abortion rate and nearly 60% in areas predominately peopled by African-Americans and Hispanics.

Pro-lifers always get attacked for supposedly exaggerating when we patiently explain just how far out to sea the advance pickets for the abortion armada actually are. In this case, the Times’ Thomas Kaplan verifies it for us, although couched in reassuring no-big-deal language.

“Mr. Cuomo, seeking to deliver on a promise he made in his recent State of the State address, would rewrite a law that currently allows abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy only if the pregnant woman’s life is at risk. The law is not enforced, because it is superseded by federal court rulings that allow late-term abortions to protect a woman’s health, even if her life is not in jeopardy. But abortion rights advocates say the existence of the more restrictive state law has a chilling effect on some doctors and prompts some women to leave the state for late-term abortions.

“Mr. Cuomo’s proposal, which has not yet been made public, would also clarify that licensed health care practitioners, and not only physicians, can perform abortions.”

There are abortions everywhere in New York State, including “late-term” abortions and zero evidence that (a) any woman even KNOWS there is ostensibly a state law that limits post-24-week abortions (which has been overridden by court cases, in any event), or (b) that the situation—which they likely don’t know about—has had ANY “chilling effect” on any abortionists who WOULD know that they are free to kill babies as late as their conscience allows.

So, in reality, on that score the Reproductive Health Act is pure posturing, a way for Cuomo to burnish his credentials with the pro-abortion crowd which plays a major role in vetting Democratic candidates for President. The law is all for show, but it’s a sign—a sign that Cuomo will go to any lengths to assure that there are more abortions and later in pregnancy.

What is NOT posturing is a main agenda item for the PPFAs and NARALs: increasing the number of abortions by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions. That’s right in the pro-abortion wheelhouse and would be a dream come true. And, of course, while that expansion would initially apply only to the performance of “early” abortions, you know that limitation would go quickly by the boards.

Granted, we would never expect a truthful statement to escape the pro-abortionist’s lips, but this one is a real whopper. Kaplan writes, “National abortion rights groups have sought for years to persuade state legislatures to adopt laws guaranteeing abortion rights as a backup to Roe.”

But of course this has nothing to do with the eventuality of Roe being someday overturned. (Often it is packaged as “codifying” Roe.) That is just cover to make abortion more readily available, gut any limitations on abortion whatsoever, and make abortion a virtually invulnerable “fundamental” right.

Two quick concluding thoughts—besides the obvious one that to the Andrew Cuomos of this world, it is practically a profanity to talk about abortion being “legal, safe and rare.”

First, the legislation has been kicking around for years. In a statement Kathleen Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference in Albany, recently said Cuomo’s push to enact the Reproductive Health Act is a “desperate attempt to push through an abortion expansion that’s been around for six years and has failed to gain traction as a stand-alone bill.”

She added, “Make no mistake; this bill, first championed by [former Governor] Eliot Spitzer, is radical and far out of the mainstream, even by the standards of New York, a state with an abortion rate twice the national average.”

Second, we’ve twice referenced a recent poll conducted by The Chiaroscuro Foundation. It found that even in the abortion-happy state of New York, overwhelmingly New Yorkers support restraints on abortion—the very antithesis of the goal of the Reproductive Health Act.

For example, when they are informed of the number of abortions in New York, 78.8% believe there is already sufficient access to abortion in New York State; 86% favor regulating abortion clinics as strictly as other medical facilities; 75% oppose changing the law so that someone other than a doctor can perform surgical abortions; 78% approve of a 24 hour waiting period; and 76% approve parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion.

Guess how much of that was included in Kaplan’s story? None.