Archive for the ‘New York State government’ Category

Even More Gubernatorial Abortion Radicalism

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Just when you thought New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had gone about as far as he could in supporting extremist abortion laws and policies, he manages to find ways to go even more radical.

Last week, the Governor announced a new state-funded website that gives people information about how to get an abortion. In bold, large-font type with strange capitalization reminiscent of Twitter rants, his internet announcement invokes an approaching anti-abortion apocalypse in such exaggerated and hyperbolic terms that they would exceed the most generous Orwellian standards:

In Light of Widespread Reports that Crisis Pregnancy Centers Provide Misleading, Medically Inaccurate Information on Reproductive Services to Dissuade Abortion, Campaign Connects Women to Accurate Information on Options for Unintended Pregnancies, Including Abortion. Facing Relentless Federal Attacks on Reproductive Rights, Governor Cuomo Will Fight Back to Protect Women’s Access to Reproductive Rights and Continue to Call on Senate to Codify Roe v. Wade

These alleged “widespread reports” actually come from the Governor’s allies in the abortion industry, and he gladly parrots all of their propagandistic talking points. As for “relentless attacks”, those are only in the fervid imaginations of abortion zealots, whose company the Governor regularly keeps and who are happy to number him among the true believers by endorsing him for re-election.

Does anyone really believe there’s a lack of access to abortion in New York? My office did some research a few years ago and found over 40 places to get an abortion in the City of New York alone. Mr. Google is happy to provide an extremely long list of abortion clinics in New York State, just for the asking. A simple search yields over 22 million hits, some of which might not be a place to have a child killed, but an awful lot of them are, and some of them are even helpfully reviewed by Yelp.

The horrific official abortion statistics from the New York State Health Department put the lie to any claim that there is difficulty getting abortions in our state:

  • 86,627 – the total number of abortions in New York State in 2015 — more than two sell-out crowds at the Mets’ Citi Field.
  • 367 – the number of abortions per 1,000 live births in the state. In other words, over a quarter of all pregnancies in our state ends with an abortion.
  • 505 – the number of abortions per 1,000 live births in New York City. In other words, over a third of all pregnancies in the City ends with an abortion.
  • 1,038 – the number of abortions per 1,000 live births for African-Americans in New York City. So there are more abortions than live births among African-Americans.
  • 2,106 – the number of abortions in our state after 20 weeks — after the time when unborn children can feel pain. How much more inhumane can we be, than to dismember a living human being who feels the pain of it?
  • 2,854 — the number of abortions where the mother had already had at least 5 prior abortions.

Seriously, if those numbers don’t horrify you, or at least give you pause, then I fear for the state and fate of your soul.

The Governor’s attack on pro-life pregnancy centers is truly bizarre. His press flacks said, “We are launching this public awareness campaign to combat the insidious spread of misleading, medically inaccurate information about reproductive health and to ensure all New York women know the options they are legally entitled to.”

Insidious? Really? You mean when pregnancy center volunteers actually tell women the real facts about the stages of fetal development, the potential side-effects of abortions, and remind them that an abortion ends the life of a real human being? Horrors. Of course, they cite no actual evidence whatsoever that pregnancy centers pose a threat to anything, because there is none. Anyone who thinks that volunteer-run, shoe-string-budget pregnancy centers are some kind of massive stealth threat to women’s health has drunk too much pro-abortion Kool-Aid.

One can only assume that the people who write the Governor’s scripts haven’t seen the videos of women being taken from Planned Parenthood clinics in ambulances due to complications from abortions, or they didn’t read the recent stories of the doctor who pleaded guilty this year to killing a woman in a botched abortion. Or perhaps they didn’t ask the Governor how many abortion clinics his Health Department has inspected recently (because it’s virtually none) and how many unlicensed clinics they’ve shut down (absolutely none). They certainly have never interviewed the women who have been coerced into abortions, or who were the victims of sex traffickers or abusers who were never reported by abortion clinics. I guess they were too busy complaining about pregnancy centers to investigate the abuses of the abortion industry.

Or perhaps they have discerned certain truths that are embedded deep in their hearts, and are reacting angrily because they feel threatened in their distorted worldview. Perhaps they realize that if women are truly presented with their options, in a loving and supportive environment, they might actually choose not to have an abortion. Perhaps they’re afraid that women will reject the lie that they cannot fully participate in life if they have an inconvenient pregnancy. Perhaps they’re worried that more and more women will see that life is a beautiful gift, and that when we receive it generously we become better people.

The truth is a frightening thing, when you’re in the grip of a radical anti-life ideology.

Hope and Assisted Suicide

Friday, May 11th, 2018

Yesterday was the Solemnity of the Ascension. That naturally should lead Christians to contemplate the virtue of Hope. The Catechism summarizes the basic principles: “Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him forever.” (CCC 666) And again, “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.” (CCC 1817)

I am particularly struck by the importance of this virtue because of recent experience. Last week, I gave testimony on behalf of the Archdiocese and the Catholic Conference at a hearing held by the Assembly Health Committee in Manhattan. The legislation at issue was the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.

It was a very long hearing. I sat in the hearing room for over eight hours before I testified, and the hearing went on for at least another hour and a half. By the end, almost 50 people testified – the majority in favor of the bill. I had also attended a previous hearing in Albany on the legislation, which lasted about three hours. So I’ve heard a lot of arguments in favor of legalizing assisted suicide.

Most of the witnesses who favored the legislation spoke of their desire to avoid suffering at the end of life, particularly the loss of autonomy, the effects of diminished capacity to perform basic tasks and enjoy favored pleasures, the fear of unbearable pain, and the desire to “end life on my own terms”. The tales of sadness and suffering were very heart-felt, and I deeply respect them for their sincerity.

But what made the stories most sad was that they lacked any sense of hope.

The subtext of their testimony was the bleak meaningless of suffering and even of life itself, the sense of loneliness and abandonment  of so many people with grave illnesses, the illusion that one can control one’s life though an exercise of will, and a utilitarian view of life that equated value with usefulness or function. I remarked to a colleague afterwards that the view of life of so many of the witnesses was flat and  almost two-dimensional – as if this visible life is all that there is. If that’s the case, then it makes a certain kind of sense to favor suicide as an answer to suffering.

In contrast, the testimony by many of those who opposed the bill showed a richer, deeper sense of the inherent dignity of life. The best exemplars of this were the persons with disabilities who gave inspiring accounts of the meaning and value of their lives, despite their daily difficulties. Particularly impressive was the poignant testimony of Kristen Hanson, the widow of J.J. Hanson, who was such a warrior against his own deadly cancer and against the legalization of assisted suicide.

What made these opposition testimonies so powerful, I think, was the virtue of hope. That makes perfect sense. If you believe that there is a higher dimension to life, and particularly if you trust that Jesus is good to his word and that we have a chance for eternal life with God, you will look at sickness, pain and suffering in a different light. You will see it as a transitional stage in our lives, unpleasant to be sure, but part of a long continuum that we all have to travel and that can actually have a happy ending.

Hope rejects the idea that our loved ones are annihilated by death, but instead believes that they have entered into a new and glorious life – and that we hope to join them there. It helps us to see that suffering can have a kind of power, as St. Paul pointed out – “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:10). It can also lead us to understand that a death infused with hope can be a beautiful experience for those left behind.

The depressing testimonies by the proponents of assisted suicide stand in such bold contrast to the confidence that the virtue of hope offers us. I couldn’t help but think of the strong exhortations by St. Paul in Romans 6 and 1 Corinthians 15 to reject the view that death is the end, and understand the significance of the victory of Christ over death and the joyful hope that it gives us.

The fight against assisted suicide, as with all the other incursions of the Culture of Death, is long and difficult. It can be tiring to battle for so long against so many opponents and with so few allies. But we have one great advantage on our side – the virtue of hope that comes from our faith in the power and glory of God. With that, we can take to heart St. Paul’s advice: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Cor 15:58)

Abortion Expansion is Still a Threat

Friday, April 6th, 2018

I have written before about the threat posed by Governor Cuomo’s abortion expansion proposal, which he introduced earlier this year as part of his budget. See my blogs ” The Governor’s Cruel Abortion Bill” and ” New York’s Insatiable Abortion Appetite“. This was a very dangerous threat, because by law a budget must be passed by April 1 and the only way to remove an item from the proposed budget is in the secret behind-the-scenes negotiations between the Governor and the leaders of the Assembly and Senate.

Thanks be to God, the pro-life members of the Senate and the Republican Senate Majority Leader, John Flanagan, held firm and the proposal was not included in the final budget bills that were passed on Good Friday. We have to be so grateful for all the efforts of the New Yorkers for Life coalition, particularly the New York State Catholic Conference and New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms. And we are extremely thankful for all the work done by our pastors and parishioners, especially those in the key Senate districts that we concentrated our efforts on.

But we can’t rest on our laurels. The abortion expansion threat is still very real. The Governor insisted in his post-budget press conference that he would continue to press for abortion expansion during the rest of the legislative session.

So we now have to focus our attention on the so-called Reproductive Health Act (A 1748/S 2796). This bill, in various forms, has been around for over a decade, and its current manifestation is virtually indistinguishable from the Governor’s budget proposal. It is a radical proposal that would give New York the most liberal abortion laws in the world — in fact, it would remove any limitations on abortion from our laws. It would:

  • Encourage more late-term abortions by removing our current law’s limit on abortions after 24 weeks there will be more late-term abortions in our state.
  • Permit non-doctors to do abortions by giving State bureaucrats unlimited discretion to grant a license to perform abortions to anyone they wanted.
  • Eliminate all criminal penalties for abortions so even if an abortion was involuntary or coerced, or if an unborn child is deliberately targeted for an act of violence, it could not be prosecuted. This would basically legalize domestic violence against unborn children.
  • Endanger children even after birth by eliminating a law that requires that a baby born alive after an abortion be given adequate health care. Instead, this bill would allow abortionists to leave those children to die of neglect and starvation.

For more detailed information about the bill, see our Office’s information page and this bill memo from the New York State Catholic Conference.

This horrible piece of legislation has already passed the Assembly, by the absurdly lopsided vote of 93 to 44. Of the forty-four Assembly members who represent parts of the Archdiocese, it is a disgrace that only seven cast pro-life votes against it — Kevin Byrne (Westchester/Putnam), Ron Castorina (Staten Island), Marcus Crespo (Bronx), Mike Cusick (Staten Island), Kieran Michael Lalor (Dutchess), Nicole Malliotakis (Staten Island) and Al Taylor (Manhattan). Kudos to them, and shame on their colleagues.

The Governor already displays an Ozymandias-like level of exaggerated self-esteem about his alleged accomplishments in office. He is in a tough primary race against a very liberal opponent, so it’s likely that he will push very hard for passage of the Reproductive Health Act to prove his “progressive” bona fides.

We can’t let that happen. We owe it to women, to unborn children yet conceived, and to all of our society to deny the Governor bragging rights for the passage of this horrendous and deadly bill.

The Moral Disease in Albany

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

One of the basic observations of the moral and spiritual life is that sin is contagious. Once it infects a person, it spreads within them, and it spreads to others. This is why we should never give an inch to the Evil One, and never excuse “small sins”. If we start accepting “small sins” in one area of our life, we’ll soon be committing greater sins in that area and then sins in other areas as well. Likewise, if we associate ourselves with sinners, and especially if we approve them and applaud their sins, then we will soon be infected by their disease. As the Catechism says, “Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin” (1863) and “Sin creates a proclivity to sin; it engenders vice by repetition of the same acts. This results in perverse inclinations which cloud conscience and corrupt the concrete judgment of good and evil. Thus sin tends to reproduce itself and reinforce itself…” (1865).

There is no better proof of this than our state capitol, Albany, and the contagion of sin that infects it so deeply.

Yesterday, the corruption trial of one of the Governor’s closest friends and former aides ended in a conviction on multiple counts of the abuse of public office for personal gain. His pattern of bad behavior is a microcosm of the pervasive corruption of the “pay to play” influence peddling that goes on in state government. That venality reached to the very vestibule of the Governor’s office is not surprising. The entire system is corrupt, nobody seems to care, and nobody is doing anything to correct it (except, it seems, for federal prosecutors). In fairness, I have to add that there is no evidence that the Governor was involved in the financial corruption of his aide. There is, rather, ample evidence that the Governor suffers from what St. Augustine called libido dominandi, the lust for power and domination, which is a corrosive moral disease.

The pervasiveness of the moral corruption can be seen even more vividly at Planned Parenthood’s lobby day yesterday. It is bad enough that adulation is given by public officials to an organization that can aptly be called Murder Incorporated — they kill over 300,000 unborn children a year nationwide and tens of thousands in our state. But at yesterday’s event, the Governor effusively praised the retiring head of that evil organization and, in a move that both shocks the conscience and turns the stomach, gave her “The Governor’s Medal for Public Service”. The moral disease in the soul runs very deep when one equates “public service” with killing of the most vulnerable people with impunity and then celebrating that horror as if it were a laudable contribution to society. We really need to pray for the Governor.

The scope of the moral contagion went even further yesterday. Our State Assembly passed four bills, including a bill to expand late-term abortion (A.1748), by a vote of 93 to 44. The primary sponsor of the bill, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D – NYC), said during the debate that the issue of abortion is important to her because she remembers a woman who died during an illegal abortion and the doctor who “dismembered her and placed her body parts in the sewer line.” She apparently feels no compassion for the hundreds of unborn babies who are dismembered every day in New York.

The Assembly also passed the “Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act” (A.9957), which promotes the anti-life ideology of the contraceptive mindset, the so-called “boss bill” (A.566) which would violate the rights of religious organizations to make employment decisions based on their beliefs, and an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution (A.7990), which sounds fine but would likely be used to establish constitutional rights to unlimited abortion on demand.

The Prophet Isaiah correctly identified the lie that sits at the heart of this epidemic of sin — “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (5:20)

Clearly, we need to act in the temporal realm to elect only public officials of good character and who respect the natural moral law and God’s law. But the spiritual illness that is daily evident in Albany is so deeply ingrained in our society that it cannot be healed except by a spiritual remedy. Cardinal O’Connor used to say about the anti-life mentality that it could only be cast out by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21). We have our work cut out for us in both departments.

Big Brother in Albany

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

The public policy environment of New York State is almost invariably depressing. When you combine a corrupt dysfunctional State Legislature with an arrogant unaccountable Governor who rules as if endowed with the royal prerogative, there’s little reason for pride in the way the Empire State is led. In fact, it’s sometimes difficult to imagine how things could get any worse.

And then, earlier this week, the Governor veered frighteningly into the territory of the suppression of free thought and speech, and intolerance for religious freedom.

His press release trumpeted that the Governor had signed an Executive Order “banning all state agencies and authorities from doing business with companies that promote or tolerate discrimination” against “LGBTQ” people. At first glance, who could object to that? Discrimination is a bad thing, isn’t it? But read that statement again carefully. It doesn’t say “companies that discriminate”. It is aimed at companies that “promote or tolerate” discrimination. What in the world does that mean?

The answer can be found by reading further in the press release and the Executive Order. There it is made clear that the target of this new action is the very existence of religious agencies, and the intent is to suppress any deviation from the new orthodoxy of gender and sexual ideology. There we will find these nuggets (the original language is in italics and my comments are in regular text):

“Additionally, in October 2017, the federal government rescinded a contraceptive coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act.” 

This is a reference to proposed new regulations that would finally end the interminable controversy over the HHS Mandate, which forced religious organizations to provide health insurance coverage for contraception and abortifacients. This was the mandate that caused the Little Sisters of the Poor and other Catholic institutions to fight for their rights all the way up to the Supreme Court.

This gives the game away right at the start. Those proposed regulations had nothing to do with discrimination laws or “LGBT” rights. They dealt solely with religious liberty and the HHS Mandate. By citing this completely irrelevant federal proposal, the press release inadvertently made clear that the Governor’s new order is rooted in animosity towards religious freedom.

“This action has permitted employers and organizations to claim broad exemptions from nondiscrimination laws, which has increased the vulnerability of LGBTQ rights.” 

This statement is absolutely false, misleading and incomprehensible. The Administration’s action on the HHS Mandate had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with anti-discrimination laws, and it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with “LGBTQ” rights. It granted no exemptions of any kind whatsoever from non-discrimination laws, which the Executive Branch is not able to do anyway without an act of Congress. The idea that “LGBTQ rights” might be “vulnerable” (whatever that means) because of a decision relating to health insurance coverage of contraceptives is something that only an ideologue could believe.

This also gives the game away. This claim about exemptions from non-discrimination laws is the bogeyman raised by gay rights advocates to create a (non-existent but sympathetic) conflict between their interests and religious liberty. By parroting the advocates’ talking points, the Governor shows that the real intent of his Executive Order is to stigmatize religious freedom and threaten to penalize people for unacceptable thinking.

“With this executive order, New York reaffirms our commitment to protecting the rights of everyone.”

This is classic Orwellian doublethink — simultaneously believing in two utterly contradictory things. You cannot at the same time quash religious liberty and freedom of thought and still claim to be protecting the rights of everyone. This order is premised on the assumption that freedom is a zero-sum game with winners and losers — and the Governor has chosen which side he wants to win.

“Finally, the Governor announced that any school that refuses to protect transgender students will not receive state funding.”

Here is the unequivocal and direct attack on religious liberty. Note that the Governor’s order is aimed at “any school”, not just public schools. Catholic, Christian and Orthodox Jewish schools receive state funding for things like textbooks and computers as a matter of basic fairness to the parents of their students. They already protect all students from any kind of harassment or bullying or violence. But they do not and cannot recognize the idea of transgenderism, which is based on a false anthropology contrary to their religious beliefs. These faith communities continue to commit what contemporary sexual ideology considers to be an unforgivable heresy — namely, that God created every human person as male and female and that one’s “gender identity” must accept and conform to to the biological reality of male and female nature.

The amorphous language being used here — the vague undefined terms “protect”, “tolerate” and “promote” — shows that broad discretion is going to be given to unaccountable bureaucrats to police speech and thought as well as behavior. Who will decide what is sufficient to constitute “protection” and what standard will they use? Will it be enough to protect all students equally? Or will the state require Catholic, Christian and Jewish schools to violate their religious beliefs and treat some students in special ways that acknowledge the false notion of fluid gender identity? Does anyone trust this state government led by this Governor to act in a way that respects religious freedom as well as the rights to free speech, thought and association? Or are we witnessing the foundation of a Thought Police?

“Affected State Entities are hereby directed to amend their procurement procedures to prevent Affected State Entities from entering into contracts with entities that have institutional policies or practices that fail to address the harassment and discrimination of individuals on the basis of their gender identity, transgender status, gender dysphoria or any of the other protected classes enumerated above.”

This is the language of the Executive Order itself, and it carries much more weight than a press release. This is the directive that will be used by state agencies to come up with binding rules. If this language just spoke of banning companies that have been found guilty of actual acts of discrimination, then it would be one thing. Or if it dealt with government agencies subject to the Governor’s direct authority, that would make some sense.

But this Order is aimed at banning private companies “that have institutional policies or practices that fail to address” harassment and discrimination. This doesn’t seem to require proof of actual wrong-doing — that acts of discrimination have occurred or that the company failed to correct them. So how will we know if a policy “fails to address” discrimination? Who will decide that, and what standard will they use? Since our schools and institutions do not recognize the validity of transgenderism, are we per se guilty of this thoughtcrime because of our religious beliefs? Again, can we trust this state government led by this Governor to act in a way that respects religious freedom as well as the rights to free speech, thought and association?

To really capture the import of the Governor’s new policy, just consider his own words: “I can tell you that any school that refuses to protect transgender students will not receive a penny of state money and then they are out of business.” No subtlety to that threat. The only schools he could be talking about are religious ones, and everyone knows that means Catholic, Christian and Orthodox Jewish schools. The message is clear — conform or be destroyed.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled in a case named Trinity Lutheran Church v. Missouri. It involved a religious school that was denied a government contract that was generally available to anyone else. The Court said,

The State has pursued its preferred policy to the point of expressly denying a qualified religious entity a public benefit solely because of its religious character. Under our precedents, that goes too far. The Department’s policy violates the Free Exercise Clause.

The Supreme Court saw clearly that our Constitution recognizes the fundamental human right to think and believe freely, and that government cannot penalize persons or organizations solely because of their religious beliefs. The Court rejected the fundamentally totalitarian idea that all private entities must be forced into harmony with the government’s ideology.

The Supreme Court sees what Big Brother in Albany does not. The future of freedom in our state is not looking good.

The Governor’s Cruel Abortion Bill

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

All abortions are acts of terrible cruelty. Late-term abortions are particularly barbaric – they are typically done by dismembering the child while she is still alive and capable of feeling pain. There is no civilized way to kill a child in her mother’s womb – or anywhere else, for that matter.

Our laws do little to temper this cruelty. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s perverse jurisprudence, there is virtually no effective ban on any abortion at any stage of pregnancy. The one ban that has survived judicial nullification, the partial birth abortion ban, has likely had no real effect, since it left abortionists free to choose another method, equally cruel, to kill the child.

The innate cruelty of the abortion mentality has been brought into clear view by Governor Cuomo’s proposed abortion expansion scheme. This is the same approach he unsuccessfully tried a few years ago, which was thwarted by sustained opposition by pro-lifers. This time, the Governor has gamed the legislative system by squirreling his abortion expansion bill in one of his budget bills. This corrupt and anti-democratic maneuver makes it very difficult to eliminate the abortion proposal, which would remove any restrictions on the reasons for late-term abortions, permit non-doctors to do abortions, and eliminate any protection for the unborn child against a direct assault. I’ve outlined elsewhere the dangers of this proposal.

There is one provision in the Governor’s bill that is so cruel and so inhumane that it deserves separate attention and special condemnation.

In our current Public Health Law, there is a section that is called the “Baby Doe Law” (section 4164). Enacted in 1974, this law requires that whenever an abortion is performed after 20 weeks, a second doctor must be present whose responsibility is to take care of the child in case she is born alive. This should surely be uncontroversial – it is an element of basic humanity to provide care to a helpless vulnerable person. In fact, a related federal law, the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act was passed in 2002 by the House by a wide margin and the Senate by unanimous consent.

Yet the Governor’s bill would repeal the Baby Doe Law. In other words, he would deny health care to a vulnerable helpless child, crying for her mother and struggling to survive. He would leave her fate in the hands of an abortionist, whose primary job is to kill her.

This is not an academic discussion. Babies are born alive after abortions and abortionists do nothing to care for them. Some abortionists, like the infamous Kermit Gosnell, deliberately murder them. A study published by a highly respected medical journal has estimated that over 5% of babies survive abortion at 21 weeks and almost 10% survive a 23 week abortion – at a time when many of them would be able to survive if they were given proper medical care. According to official New York statistics, there were 2,106 abortions after 20 weeks in 2015. That means that there could be over 100 and perhaps as many as 200 babies born alive in New York after abortions, many of whom were viable. There’s no way to know how many of them received decent medical care.

This horrifying reality was brought into the light in the recent Congressional investigation into the alleged sale of fetal tissue by Planned Parenthood. One Planned Parenthood doctor testified:

I can tell you that none of our Health Centers provide obstetrics care. So they don’t deliver babies. So they don’t have anyone who can provide care, nor do they know what that care is. . . . We don’t deliver babies at Planned Parenthood. . . . [O]ur affiliates don’t provide obstetrical care. So therefore, they don’t know how to manage a term infant or a premature infant. (emphasis added)

Another doctor from a university hospital in New Mexico, who performs late-term abortions and trains other doctors to do so, testified:

Q: So does your curriculum call for training of doctors of what to do if a child is born alive because of an induced abortion?
A: No.
Q: No training at all?
A: No.
Q: There’s no resuscitation training?
A: OB/GYN doctors do not resuscitate neonates. (emphasis added)

Reflecting on this and other chilling testimony from abortionists, the Congressional panel concluded,

The testimony… suggests a lack of medical training and of any sense of obligation to be trained to preserve the life of an infant that survives the abortion procedure. It reflects a philosophy that a right to abortion somehow carries a guarantee of the death of the infant expelled during the procedure.

This is what the Governor wants to enshrine in New York law. The deliberate killing by neglect of babies who have already been born and who can survive with basic care. To bring us back to the level of the ancient Greeks and Romans, who left unwanted children out in the woods to die of exposure and neglect.

Infanticide is the technical term.

It is cruel and barbaric by any name.

New York’s Insatiable Abortion Appetite

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Today is the 45 th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s tragic Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion across the nation. New York had previously legalized abortion, so this year is the 48 th anniversary. Both of these statements are an indictment of the inhumanity of our contemporary society.

Here are a few numbers to contemplate (all are from 2015 except the last three, which are from 2014):

  • 86,627 – the total number of abortions in New York State. So in a little over two years, the equivalent of the population of my hometown of Yonkers is aborted.
  • 367 – the number of abortions per 1,000 live births in the state. In other words, over a quarter of all pregnancies in our state ends with an abortion.
  • 505 – the number of abortions per 1,000 live births in New York City. In other words, over a third of all pregnancies in the City ends with an abortion.
  • 1,038 – the number of abortions per 1,000 live births for African-Americans in New York City. So there are more abortions than live births among African-Americans. If that number doesn’t appall you, then I fear for the state of your soul.
  • 2,106 – the number of abortions in our state after 20 weeks – after the time when unborn children can feel pain. How much more inhumane can we be, than to dismember a living human being who feels the pain of it?
  • 48,345 – the number of cases in which the abortion was not the woman’s first. This shows that in many cases, abortion is a backup form of contraception.
  • 3,998 — the number of cases where the woman had at least 5 prior abortions. The pathos of this number is too great to express.

Will our state’s insatiable appetite for abortion ever be satiated?

Apparently not, if you pay attention to what our Governor is doing.

In his State of the State Address, the Governor called for the incorporation of Roe v. Wade into our laws and constitution. That would put the right to an abortion on the same plane as the right to free speech and the right to vote. If that’s not extreme enough, he included in his annual budget bill a proposal that would eliminate all criminal penalties for abortion. This would eliminate key protections for women and unborn children: the requirement that only doctors perform abortions, the requirement that abortions after 24 weeks be done only to save the life of the mother, and the ability to prosecute persons who deliberately attack and kill a child while still in her mother’s womb. Even worse, this bill would also repeal a section of the law that protects a child who is born alive as the result of an abortion.

Consider for a second the corrupt dishonesty of including in a budget bill such a proposal — which has nothing whatsoever to do with government finances. The only purpose of doing so is to make abortion a negotiable item, and to put increased pressure on the legislature to pass the abortion expansion measure as part of the overall funding of our state government. Since nobody wants to repeat the government shutdown fiasco we’ve seen in Washington, it’s like a hold-up – expand abortion or else.

Gone are the days when “pro-choice” advocates put up the front of regretting the demand for abortion. Now they are openly “pro-abortion” and are celebrating abortion as a positive good. Just look at the rhetoric at the various Marches for Women from last weekend and the clear “not welcome” signals they sent to pro-life women. Just look at how ferociously they oppose all common-sense regulations of abortion. Just consider the shame of most House Democrats voting against a bill that would have guaranteed health care to any child lucky enough to survive an abortion and be born alive.

New York already has the disgraceful distinction of having the highest rate of abortion in the United States, according to the CDC. The insatiable appetite for the death of unborn children is a stain on our society.

And if our Governor has his way, there will be more, more, more.

A Great Victory for Life

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

The New York State Court of Appeals has unanimously upheld our state ban on assisted suicide. The decision is a tremendous victory for life, and will strengthen our efforts to hold off legislation that seeks to legalize assisted suicide.

The lawsuit involved was filed by persons who had terminal illnesses and several doctors. They argued that they had a fundamental right under our state constitution to what they euphemistically call “aid-in-dying”. They also argued that it violated equal protection to allow patients to decline life-sustaining treatment but deny assistance to others who wish to commit suicide. Their arguments were supported by many organizations that filed amicus curiae briefs, including groups of doctors and law professors, as well as the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The Attorney General of New York opposed the lawsuit very ably. The New York State Catholic Conference filed amicus curiae briefs in opposition, written by myself and my colleague Alexis Carra. Several other amicus briefs were filed on our side, by Catholic and Christian doctors, our allies in Not Dead Yet (a leading disability rights group), and Agudath Israel.

The case was very well argued on both sides, both at oral arguments and in the briefs. The lower courts all rejected the plaintiff’s arguments in opinions that were very thoughtful and well done. But in the end, it was all up to the Court of Appeals, the highest court in our state and the final authority on our New York State Constitution.

Thanks be to God, the Court categorically rejected all of the plaintiffs’ arguments. With strong opinions — the unanimous opinion of all five judges and several concurrences — the Court firmly rejected the absurd notion that “aid-in-dying” was somehow excluded from the current definition of suicide. They also followed the United States Supreme Court’s holding in the 1995 Quill v. Vacco case that neither the Due Process Clause nor the Equal Protection Clause supported the creation of a fundamental right to assisted suicide.

Most significantly, the Court strongly upheld the strong and unequivocal state interest in prohibiting assisted suicide. The various opinions cited major concerns that were raised by our side, including the risk of expanding assisted suicide to voluntary or even involuntary euthanasia, the stigmatization of disabled persons, the degradation of the medical profession, the need to protect vulnerable populations, and the risk of abuse and misuse of medications. These opinions will be of great assistance to us in opposing further efforts to legalize assisted suicide in the Legislature.

It’s easy sometimes for pro-lifers to get discouraged, especially in a state like New York where the deck seems stacked against us. Victories are few and far between, and defeats are all too common. This lawsuit was the most significant battle that we have had in the pro-life cause in New York in the last twenty-plus years.

God has been good to his people of New York by granting us a victory in this case. We can legitimately say, with Psalm 98, “O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory!”

There are Never Enough Abortions for our State Leaders

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

Does anyone seriously think we need more abortions in New York, or that abortions are hard to get in our state? Apparently, our Governor and some leading Democratic legislators do. What can they possibly be thinking?

According to the most recent state statistics from 2014, there were 93,300 abortions in New York State. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a well-known pro-abortion research group, puts the number highter, at 119,400. Thanks be to God, these number have been coming down in recent years, but regardless, it’s a mind-boggling number — in less than two years, the equivalent of the population of my home town, Yonkers, is exterminated.

There are few, if any, limits on access to abortion in New York. Women of every single county have abortions, and there are over 200 facilities where they take place, mostly stand-alone clinics. 79% of New York’s abortions are currently paid for by health insurance, 47% by Medicaid. In 52% of the abortions, the mother had at least one prior; in 15%, the mother had 3 or more priors;  in 4.3%, the mother had 5 or more priors. Nobody is having a hard time getting an abortion.

There is no evidence that wider access to abortion is necessary to preserve the health of women. The vast majority of abortions have nothing to do with health concerns. According to Guttmacher, “The three most common reasons — each cited by three-fourths of patients — were concern for or responsibility to other individuals; the inability to afford raising a child; and the belief that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents. Half said they did not want to be a single parent or were having problems with their husband or partner.” In other words, most abortions are taking place as a method of back-up contraception, and have nothing to do with the health of mothers.

So why are the Governor and legislators pushing for more abortions?

The Governor just announced a new set of regulations that would require every health insurance plan to cover “medically necessary” abortions, with no co-pays or deductibles. The term “medically necessary” isn’t defined in his rules, but pro-abortion advocates have typically used it to mean basically any abortion that a doctor either recommends or agrees to. In short, the Governor thinks that every woman in New York should be able to have an abortion for any reason whatsoever at any stage of pregnancy — for free. I’m sure the Governor understands economics, so I’m sure he understands very well that if you reduce the cost of something to zero, more people will avail themselves of it.

And take a look at the new bill that’s been introduced by Democrats in the Legislature (and that I would expect the Governor to sign into law, if it ever passes). This bill is really wicked. It would:

  • Permit non-doctors to do surgical abortions.
  • Increase the number of late-term abortions.
  • Endanger the few health and safety regulations that we currently have.
  • Compel hospitals and doctors to participate in abortions.
  • Eliminate any criminal penalties for back-alley abortions.

The worst part of this bill is so extreme that it boggles the mind. It would repeal a section of our Public Health Law (Section 4164, the “Baby Doe Law”) that gives full civil rights protection to any child who might be born alive as the result of an abortion. This law also requires a second doctor to be available during a late-term abortion — when the baby is likely to be able to live outside of the womb with basic medical care.

This evil bill would eliminate that law and treat those babies as non-persons — essentially saying, to paraphrase the infamous Dred Scott decision, that “a baby born alive after an abortion has no rights that born people are bound to respect”. Yet our Politburo-like Assembly passed the bill by a wide margin, and the only thing standing between it and the Governor’s pen is the slim pro-life majority in the Senate.

It is hard to conceive a reason to repeal these humane protections of basic human rights — unless you understand that the true motivation of pro-abortion advocates is to ensure the death of more “unwanted” babies.

This is what our state has come to. All the hooplah over marches for women and full civil rights for weak and vulnerable people is just a charade. The tragic reality is that powerful people in New York — particularly our Governor and Democratic legislative leaders — want to change the law so that there are more dead children, more damaged mothers and fathers, and an increase in the malign effects of the Culture of Death.

When will enough be enough?

New York is Open for Business for Late-Term Abortions

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

The Attorney General of New York has long been an enthusiast for abortion. He used to boast about how he once served as an “escort” to accompany women into abortion clinics. He has consistently found pretty much every way possible to promote abortion. And he has now reached a new low, issuing a legal opinion that sends a clear message to the world — New York is open for business for late-term abortions.

As a legal matter, his opinion letter is not a surprise. He correctly stated that to be valid under current Supreme Court precedent (I refuse to call it “constitutional law”), New York’s abortion law must contain a “health exception” for post-viability abortions. But the problem is that “health” has been defined so broadly as to be functionally meaningless, since it would include  “all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.” (That’s a quote from Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe v. Wade).

So the effect of the AG’s opinion is to make clear to the world that New York permits abortion on demand for all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason whatsoever. And remember, there’s no requirement that a woman seeking an abortion be a New York resident — so it’s come one, come all.

The really insidious part of the opinion comes in the second part of his opinion, dealing with late-term abortions where the baby is “nonviable”.

The problem with a relying on a “viability” standard is that it is undefined in the law — neither the Supreme Court nor New York law defines it with any kind of specificity (in fact, the term is entirely absent in the New York statute). In Casey, the Court described “the concept of viability” as “the time at which there is a realistic possibility of maintaining and nourishing a life outside the womb”. In Roe, the Court said it meant that “the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb”.

Talk about arbitrary. What does that mean, and who decides?

Here’s the devil in the details. As the Attorney General noted in his opinion, the Supreme Court has left it to the abortionist to decide — with no requirement that his opinion be reviewed by anyone, with no legal standard, entirely in his discretion. In fact, the Court said that “it is not the proper function of the legislature or the courts to place viability, which essentially is a medical concept, at a specific point in the gestation period. The time when viability is achieved may vary with each pregnancy, and the determination of whether a particular fetus is viable is, and must be, a matter for the judgment of the responsible attending physician.” (That’s from the decision in Planned Parenthood v. Danforth)

So it’s carte blanche for abortionists. He could interpret “nonviable” to mean that the baby cannot have a “meaningful” life because she needs some kind of basic life support (which is common and ordinary care for preemies), or she will not survive more than a short time (which would encompass many babies with treatable disabilities, much less babies with microcephaly due to Zika).

The end result is an open door to late-term abortion that specifically targets babies with disabilities. That’s eugenics, and it’s unequivocally evil.

New York has often been called “The Abortion Capital of the United States”. It’s hard to believe, but this recent move has made it even worse. Thanks to our Attorney General, New York is rolling out the carpet for late-term abortions.