By Dave Andrusko
To be fair the press conference was this morning and I am writing this post in late-afternoon. But having said that, the scant (near invisible) coverage of a press conference where physicians denounced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s genuinely radical abortion proposal is disappointing.
The only account I see thus far is a four-paragraph summary from the Associated Press. The last paragraph includes the ritualistic response from “a Cuomo spokesman” that “the proposal would simply codify the federal law, not expand late-term abortions.” Given this kind of dishonesty, you wonder how this “spokesman” looks himself in the mirror.
Luckily, the redoubtable Kathleen Jean Lopez, editor-at-large of National Review Online, interviewed family physician Dr. Anne Nolte who was part of that coalition of physicians who held the press conference in the state capital of Albany. (The interview ran today and fills in the blanks.)
The very first Q&A tells us the heart of the objection to Cuomo’s yet-to-be-fleshed out proposal:
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Why are you protesting the governor’s agenda with regard to abortion?
DR. ANNE NOLTE: Though Governor Cuomo has not yet proposed specific legislation, his comments to the media suggest he plans to introduce legislation similar to the bill commonly referred to as the “Reproductive Health Act,” which could be used to allow abortion even of an infant who can survive outside of the womb and which would allow non-physicians to perform invasive surgical abortions in medical clinics outside of a hospital setting.
I, like many of my colleagues, believe that such legislation makes abortion less safe for women. We worry it will increase the use of late-term abortion when this type of abortion is not necessary to protect a woman’s health. And it devalues the lives of our second patient — the infant in the womb.
We are also concerned about defining abortion as a “right,” which the Reproductive Health Act would do. Does this mean that doctors and institutions which refuse to provide abortion for religious or moral reasons will be charged with “discrimination” for failing to respect this right? Will we be fined? Lose our licenses? These are real and serious concerns that lawmakers in Albany must not gloss over.
Dr. Nolte goes on to reiterate and amplify points we’ve discussed frequently at National Right to Life News Today. At the top of the list is the absurdity of suggesting that there is some sort of unmet “need” for abortion in a state whose abortion rate is twice the national average and whose largest city has pockets where the abortion rate is a staggering 60%!
“With staggering statistics like these confirming that there is no lack of access to abortion in New York State, why would we seek to allow less qualified, non-physician health-care providers, with less surgical training, and less experience managing complications of surgery, to perform abortions?,” Dr. Nolte says. “Why would we allow outpatient abortion clinics to perform late-term abortions, with the inherently higher risk of complications, rather than continue to require that high-risk procedures be performed in the safety of a hospital?”
But perhaps Dr. Nolte’s most helpful comments in her interview with Lopez addressed the issue of increasing the number of late-term abortion.
DR. NOLTE: Let’s be clear. The RHA [Reproductive Health Act, which has been introduced in previous years] and Governor Cuomo’s comments both clearly indicate that they want to allow abortion through all 40 weeks of pregnancy if it is necessary to protect the “health” of the mother. This is deceptive. As I already mentioned, any complications of pregnancy after 24 weeks’ gestation can be managed safely by delivering the living child, whether by induction of labor or by C-section. The death of the child is never medically necessary to preserve the mother’s health. “Health” however has been broadly interpreted to mean not just serious, life-threatening conditions, like high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia, but also any disturbance of “mental health.” This essentially allows a woman to terminate her pregnancy through all 40 weeks of pregnancy for any reason that “upsets her mental health.” As a single example, one young woman, who spoke before the New York City Council a few years ago, testified that she was pressured at an abortion clinic to say she was “depressed” by her pregnancy, because it would be the only way for her to get a legal abortion at 25 weeks’ gestation.
And there’s lots more. Please take the time to read the full interview. After you do, you will understand that Cuomo is not the least bit interested in “codifying” anything except the most radical abortion regime anywhere in this country.
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