By Lori Kehoe, executive director, New York State Right to Life
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, an ambitious politician with his eye on the White House, is vigorously pushing for the legalization of the dreadful practice of third-trimester abortion in the State of New York. Though the Empire State currently leads the nation in abortion rates, with 40% of all pregnancies in New York City ending in abortion and more New York City black children aborted than born, the pro-abortion extremists are still not satisfied, and are working overtime to deregulate the industry throughout the state.
If New Yorkers do not take a stand now, third-trimester abortion will become a reality in our communities, putting our daughters’ health in jeopardy and robbing innocent human beings of their lives just weeks from birth.
The abortion expansion bill, which goes by the Orwellian name the “Women’s Equality Act,” offers anything but protection for women. The key provision of the bill broadens the exception for third-trimester abortion to include the “health” of the mother, which has been broadly interpreted by the courts to encompass age, economic, social and emotional factors — that is, essentially any justification whatsoever.
In addition to allowing the needless killing of countless innocent baby girls up to the moment of their births, the bill will allow unqualified individuals to perform dangerous third-trimester abortions on vulnerable women. The determination of “viability” of the baby will be left entirely up to the abortionist — who need not even be a physician — with no conditions set by the law on what constitutes viability.
Only a few weeks ago, the nation was stunned by news of the heinous practices of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murdering three babies he’d deliberately aborted alive and then killed by severing their spinal cords. Gosnell was also convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of Karnamaya Mongar, who died when Gosnell’s unlicensed and untrained staff administered too much Demerol.
It was not just the heartless treatment of Ms. Mongar and her needless death that so horrified Americans. The brutal nature of late abortion itself was brought to light in graphic detail throughout the trial. The testimony provided Americans with an up-close look at the horrors that Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society abortion clinic.
Third-trimester abortion is illegal in Pennsylvania. But if Gov. Cuomo’s bill were to pass, abortion clinics like Gosnell’s “shop of horrors” would be able to operate in New York largely unimpeded. More highly developed babies would die and more vulnerable women will fall prey to butchers like Gosnell, sold to them on the false premise that late term abortion is a “safe” medical procedure. In fact, unlike an emergency C-section, which takes minutes and is routinely done late into pregnancies for the health of the mother and child, a third-trimester abortion can take days. Women facing extreme life-threatening complications don’t have days.
Learning from the past
In 1993 in New York City, an abortionist named Dr. Abu Hayat faced criminal charges after he severed the arm of the baby carried by Rosa Rodriguez. Ms. Rodriguez told authorities she had changed her mind during the course of the abortion but Hayat told Rodriguez that it was too late. Rodriguez reported that she was held down as Hayat sedated her. Following the abortion Hayat sent Rodriguez home.
Severe pain and bleeding forced Rodriguez to go to the hospital, where she delivered her baby alive, a girl she named Ana Rosa. Her 3-pound baby was perfectly healthy — accept for a severed arm lost during the botched abortion. After Rodriguez’s horrific experience and the terrible damage he did to the baby, 30 other women came forward to report botched abortions by Hayat. He was convicted and sentenced to 29 years in prison.
Most insidiously, Gov. Cuomo’s bill actually increases the likelihood that more women will suffer from such botched abortions. This is because the law does away with the requirement that only a “duly licensed physician” may perform an abortion. This crucial language change allows anyone to perform an abortion. How many young, confused women in desperate circumstances will have their lives stolen from them due to this reckless deregulation? This is to say nothing of the countless healthy infants who may be legally killed any time prior to their birth and for practically any reason. How can such an effort be enacted by the so-called champions of compassion?
To associate this bill with the notion of “women’s equality” is a grave insult to New York’s great feminist tradition. Many of the country’s most influential feminists, including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul, abhorred the practice of abortion, calling it child-killing and viewing it as an attack on women. Stanton’s herself explicitly opposed the “murder of children, either before or after birth” (February 5, 1868).
With almost 120,000 New York children killed by abortion in 2009 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control, our state is certainly not one that needs to expand abortion. Precisely the opposite.
With so many New York women turning to abortion, the first priority of our state should be addressing the underlying factors affecting these women in need — not sending them to depraved abortionists who perform late abortions. Now is the time for New Yorkers on both sides of the aisle to come together to oppose an unnecessary, dangerous practice that no compassionate person would wish to see come to the state.
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