Archive for the ‘Legislation’ Category

Join in Prayer for Life

Friday, April 12th, 2013

In his great encyclical, The Gospel of Life, Blessed Pope John Paul emphasized that the struggle to promote a genuine culture of life has to be fought on several fronts.  We are certainly called to defend life in the public square, to resist any law that fails to respect the basic human right to life.  This aspect of the pro-life cause tends to gain the most attention, but it is actually not the most important way in which we seek to transform our culture.

The most important ways to build a culture of life is to serve those in need, and to celebrate life, particularly through prayer.

And so, on Monday April 15, at 5 p.m., in the midst of the ongoing battle to prevent the New York State government from enacting the radical Reproductive Health Act, we will travel to Albany once again.  Our aim this time is not to lobby our legislators, to offer reasoned arguments against the expansion of abortion.

This time, we are making our pilgrimage to Albany to join in the Candlelight Vigil for Life, sponsored by the new coalition, New Yorkers for Life, of which the Church is a member.  This is not a political event.  Our aim is to join in prayer.  We will pray for healing for those whose lives have been harmed by abortion.  We will pray for conversion in the hearts of our Governor and legislators.  We will pray that they will turn their paths away from this immoral and unjust law.  And we will pray for courage and assistance for all those who are vulnerable to abortion.

If you are able, perhaps you can make travel to our state’s capital to join us.  If you can’t maybe you can pause for a few minutes from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m, to be in solidarity with us in prayer.

Our society is deeply wounded by a lack of respect for life.  There are millions of people who have been wounded by offenses against life.  Our world needs healing, which only God can provide.  We will pray on Monday for that healing, for conversion of hearts, and for a transformation of our culture.

Why We Continue to Resist the Reproductive Health Act

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

One of the arguments that we are hearing from proponents of the Reproductive Health Act — a proposal that would expand abortion in New York even beyond its current abominable levels — is that the bill is nothing more than a “mere codification” of federal law.

There are many problems with this “mere codification” argument.  First of all, it is factually false.   The Reproductive Health Act (both the actual one introduced in the Legislature, and any one that is likely to be introduced as part of a “Women’s Equality Act”) would significantly expand abortion.  For my explanation of how it would do so, check out my previous blog posts.

We also resist this measure because it is a distraction from an authentic women’s public policy agenda — easier adoption laws and procedures, better access to day care, full funding for programs that offer alternatives to abortion, etc.  Abortion already hurts women, men, and society — and the Reproductive Health Act will make the problem worse.

But even more fundamental to our opposition to the bill is the understanding that current federal law on abortion is evil.  It is a terrible injustice, it is a deplorable violation of basic human rights, and it is an ugly stain on our society’s character.  We cannot accept or even obey such laws.  We have “a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection” (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae 73).  Those who formulate our laws have a special obligation to protect the helpless, and anyone who engages in propaganda in favor of such a law or votes for it is committing a sin against justice and the common good (U.S. Bishops, Catholics in Political Life).

Anyone who doubts where the expansion of abortion will lead, needs to consider two recent incidents.  The first is the trial of the abortionist Kermit Gosnell, whose late-term abortion clinic was a chamber of horrors.  The testimony at trial is a catalog of inhumanity, in the the casual violence and degradation of abortion as it is actually practiced in the real world.

If the Reproductive Health Act is passed, non-doctors would be permitted to do abortions, and risky late-term procedures will be done at non-hospitals — and we should not be surprised if a Gosnell-like event takes place here.

The second is the testimony of a Planned Parenthood flack, at a legislative hearing in Florida.  The lobbyist was opposing a proposal that would grant legal protections to any baby who is born alive during the course of an abortion.  Under questioning, she refused to acknowledge that the newly-born living child should automatically be given health care, and insisted that it would all be left up to the mother and the doctor — in other words, that a “post-birth abortion” would be an acceptable alternative.

Now, we all know that Planned Parenthood is a deeply evil organization, and nothing should surprise us from them.  But this incident, together with the Gosnell story, highlights the inevitable effect of abortion on everything it touches — life is devalued, morality is debased, people’s hearts are hardened, and the medical and legal professions are corrupted.  Passing the Reproductive Health Act would only add to this de-evolution of our our civilization, deeper into a Culture of Death.

We need to see abortion law, and the Reproductive Health Act, for what it really is.  And we need to take to heart what Pope Francis said the other day on his Twitter feed:

We must not believe the Evil One when he tells us that there is nothing we can do in the face of violence, injustice and sin.

We will continue to resist the Reproductive Health Act, or any similar measure that would “merely codify” the injustice of abortion in our laws.  Join the effort!

What Ever Happened to “Safe”?

Monday, March 4th, 2013

For a long time, apologists and advocates for legal abortion liked to say that they believed that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare”.

Well, we know that they’ve given up on “rare”.  And they certainly are unconditionally committed to “legal”.

But it’s astonishing that they now seem to have given up on “safe”.

Consider two elements of the proposed “Reproductive Health Act”, which is being treated by the pro-abortion movement as their Holy Grail legislation.

Currently, New York law permits only doctors to perform abortions.  That’s a reasonable, common-sense provision that has been the law for many decades.  Until recently it was the law across the United States, and it has never been called into question by a court on constitutional grounds.

The Reproductive Health Act would remove that section of the law, and instead permit abortions (prior to the third trimester) to be done by any “qualified, licensed health care practitioner acting within the scope of his or her practice”.  This term isn’t defined in the RHA, but it is defined elsewhere in New York law to include: doctors, physician assistants, chiropractors, dentists, physical therapists, nurses, podiatrists, optometrists, ophthalmic dispensers, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, speech pathologists and audiologists.  Thanks to that “scope of practice” clause in RHA, the decision to allow any of these persons to do abortions would be left entirely to the discretion of the New York State government, or private medical certification organizations — without any further consultation with the Legislature or the people of our state.

So here’s the question: 

How can it be “safe” to allow non-doctors, who have far less education, experience, and qualifications than physicians, to perform invasive surgery on women?

A second troubling provision of RHA relates to late-term abortions.  Current New York law requires those procedures to be done only in hospitals.  This is another common-sense safety requirement, since late-term abortions are inherently more risky for the mother.  It’s also necessary to give effect to the current law that a baby born alive after an abortion must be given medical assistance to sustain her life.

Instead, RHA would allow post-viability abortions to be performed on an outpatient basis in stand-alone clinics.   This is potentially very dangerous, since these clinics lack the resources to immediately address any threats to the woman’s life.   In many cases, the delay involved in calling an ambulance and transporting a gravely wounded mother can prove fatal.  Clinics also lack the specialized medical staff and equipment needed to provide neo-natal life support to any baby who survives the abortion.

So here’s another question:

How can it be “safe” to allow late-term abortions in facilities that lack emergency equipment and specialized staff that are needed to address grave threats to the lives of the mother and her child?

This is where we are in the debate over legal abortion in New York State, thanks to the Reproductive Health Act.  And it leads us to ask another question:

Is our society at the point where it’s so committed to maximizing the “legal” that it has given up on the “rare” — and is now sacrificing the “safe”?

New Yorkers Speak Loud and Clear: No Abortion Expansion

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

In our efforts to oppose the Reproductive Health Act, we’ve been stressing over and over again that we already have too many abortions in New York, and that New Yorkers don’t support an expansion of abortion in our state.  A new poll not only confirms this point, but puts an exclamation mark on it.

Sponsored by the Chiaroscuro Foundation, the poll surveyed likely New York voters.  Although a majority (55%) described themselves as “pro-choice”, 66% thought that there was no need to expand access to abortion — and this number grew to 79% when they were told that we already have over 111,000 abortions in our state each year.

Only 17% approve of unlimited abortion on demand through the ninth month of pregnancy (which is the current law, thanks to the Supreme Court, and which would be confirmed by the Reproductive Health Act.); 80% disapprove of such a policy, 61% strongly.

A large majority of New Yorkers oppose the following, which would be permissible under the Reproductive Health Act:

  • 92% oppose abortion for selecting the sex of a baby;
  • 89% oppose abortion for reducing triplets or twins to a single child;
  • 75% oppose allowing non-doctors to perform abortions; and
  • 71% oppose forcing Catholic hospitals to allow abortions.
  • Large majorities also support the following reasonable regulations of abortion, all of which would be impermissible under the Reproductive Health Act:

  • 87% support providing information about options and risks to pregnant women before they make an abortion decision;
  • 78% approve of a 24-hour waiting period prior to an abortion; and
  • 76% approve of parental notification for minors’ abortions.
  • Kathy Gallagher, the director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference, summed it up best:

    “These poll results should send a strong message to government officials: New Yorkers, even those who self-identify as ‘pro-choice,’ don’t want more abortion in the state.  The public desires prudent and reasonable regulations on the abortion procedure. New Yorkers want abortion to be truly rare. Politicians promoting the radical agenda of groups like Planned Parenthood and Naral are out of step with everyday New Yorkers, be they Republican or Democrat.”

    All Catholics — indeed, all people who believe that enough is enough –  should send a message to their government officials  that they oppose the Reproductive Health Act.

     

    Time for a Real Women’s Agenda

    Monday, February 11th, 2013

    I’ve already written a great deal about the Reproductive Health Act (see here, here and here), which has been proposed by the Governor as part of his “Women’s Equality Act”.

    One thing that has unfortunately been lost in the debate over this abortion expansion bill is that many of the other parts of the Governor’s agenda are things that most New Yorkers — including the Church — would like to support.  Things like ensuring equal pay for equal work; expanding the ability to enforce laws against sexual harassment; strengthening laws against discrimination in employment and lending (particularly against pregnant women); strengthening and enforcing current laws against sex trafficking.

    But by including the Reproductive Health Act in in the bill, the passage of other good women’s initiatives is being unnecessarily jeopardized.  We would like to see abortion taken off the table, so that the welfare of women can be addressed and promoted in a way that generates real consensus across the state.

    The Church, and other pro-life people who work at places like pregnancy services centers,  have a great deal of experience working with vulnerable women, especially those who are struggling with a crisis pregnancy.  Based on this experience, we could propose some other items to include in a real women’s agenda.  These proposals would not endanger the lives of unborn women and leave their mothers with the emotional scars of abortion.  Instead, they would enhance the welfare of the women of our state, particularly by giving encouragement and support to make the life-affirming decision to carry their babies to birth:

  • Promoting adoption by mandating parental leave equal to that provided to birth parents, and providing tax deductions or tax credits to those who adopt. A public relations campaign to encourage adoption, particularly of children with special needs and those in foster care, would also be good.
  • Providing funding for alternatives to abortion, particularly for low-income women.  For years, the government-funded Maternity & Early Childhood Foundation has been doing that on a shoestring, and the Governor’s proposed budget would eliminate all funding for this Foundation.
  • Ensuring that women have all the relevant information before making an abortion decision — bills like the “Woman’s Right to Know Act” or a bill requiring a sonogram — and a waiting period to ensure that there’s enough time to reflect.
  • Prohibiting abortion for sex selection.  This practice particularly targets female children, and is the ultimate form of discrimination against women.
  • Strengthening and enforcing New York’s anti-obscenity laws. Women are the primary victims of pornography — they are objectified and demeaned by it, and many of the women in porn are coerced or raped.
  • Helping victims of domestic violence, by giving them unpaid leave of absence from jobs, ending housing discrimination, and strengthen orders of protection.
  • Passing an unborn victims of violence act, which would permit prosecution of domestic violence criminals who target children in the womb.
  • The Governor has some good ideas for woman that shouldn’t be held back by an abortion bill that goes too far and is out of step with what New Yorkers want.  Taking the Reproductive Health Act off the table would allow people of all beliefs to unite behind a real agenda for women.

    The Reproductive Health Act and Criminal Law

    Thursday, February 7th, 2013

    As part of our efforts to educate people about the Reproductive Health Act, we have been pointing out that the bill would remove any criminal penalties for a violent attack on an unborn child.  The bill’s supporters have been countering by saying that there would still be sufficient criminal sanctions available, if RHA is passed.

    Here’s why they’re reading the law wrong.

    Current New York law criminalizes a direct attack on an unborn child outside of the context of a doctor performing an abortion with the mother’s consent.  If the unborn child is over 24 weeks of gestation, this crime would be a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison; before that, it’s a felony punishable by up to four years in jail.

    Without these criminal abortion laws, there is no way to bring a prosecution for a direct attack on an unborn child.  The reason is that New York has a “born alive” rule, under which you can only be a victim of a crime — a “person” under the law — if you are born alive.  Before that, you aren’t a “person”.  Yes, it seems absurd, but that’s been the law for many years.

    If you want a more detailed legal explanation for how this plays out, here it is — if you don’t, you can skip the next paragraph.

    The basic problem stems from the nature of the assault and homicide statutes, and the required intent elements that must be proved, when taken together with the “born alive” rule.  The assault and homicide laws are “specific intent” laws — the prosecution must prove that the assailant had “intent to cause serious physical injury to another person”.  Since an unborn child is not a “person” within the meaning of the law, no assault that is intended to harm that child can be the basis of a prosecution.  Nor can the doctrine of “transferred intent” lead to a prosecution.  That principle holds that if a person intends to assault one victim, but harms another, they are liable for injuries to the second victim.  But the assault and homicide statutes specify that the injury must be caused to the intended victim “or to a third person”. Again, since an unborn child is not a “person”, the injury to the child cannot be the basis of a criminal charge under the theory of transferred intent.  Of course, there is always the possibility of bringing charges for any injuries caused to the mother — but those are separate and distinct from the offenses directed against the unborn child, which can only be brought under the criminal abortion statutes.

    The criminal abortion statutes are reasonable and necessary, and have a long history in our law.  By having this provision, New York law shows that it has a legitimate interest in protecting unborn life, which it will defend in criminal court.  This interest has been repeatedly recognized and upheld by the Supreme Court — even in the original Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion.

    These laws are especially important because deliberate attacks on an unborn child are frequently part of a domestic violence incident.  And, not every attack on the unborn child causes some kind of physical harm to the mother.  For example, an involuntary dose of RU-486 or emergency contraception might only cause harm to the unborn child, not to the mother, and thus could not be prosecuted at all if RHA is enacted.  Think of it — a man could slip a woman a dose of EC with the intent to kill their unborn child, yet he could completely escape prosecution.

    The result of all of this is clear — without the criminal abortion statutes (which would be repealed by RHA), an assault on an unborn child cannot be the basis of a criminal charge unless there is an independent injury to the mother.  And even then, the only victim whose rights would be defended would be the mother — the child would be merely a piece of evidence at trial, not a human being who had been victimized.

    The proper way to address this flaw in the current law is not to remove the abortion provisions from the Penal Law, as RHA would.  Instead, the Legislature should enact an Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which would provide criminal penalties for assaults upon unborn children, regardless of the impact on the mother.  Thirty-six states and the federal government have these laws, and they have been upheld in the courts. The RHA may well prevent that law from ever being passed in New York State.

    The broader issue at stake here is the legal theory embodied in RHA — it treats the life and well-being of the unborn child as irrelevant, and asserts that the state is only concerned with maternal health.  This would completely abdicate the state’s legitimate interest in protecting unborn life — which has even been recognized by the Supreme Court.

    The RHA is focused solely on the mother and on ensuring her unlimited access to abortion.  The unborn child would have no legal rights, and no defense from assault, under RHA.

    Top Ten Reasons to Oppose the Governor’s Radical Abortion Plan

    Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

    Now it appears that our pro-abortion Governor will be bundling the so-called “Reproductive Health Act” with a number of other “women’s initiatives”, to create an omnibus bill that offers something to everyone. Of course, most of the bill is mere window-dressing for his plan to remove all limits on abortion, and reinforce New York’s lamentable status as the state with the most expansive abortion laws.

    The New York State Catholic Conference has put out the Top Ten Reasons to oppose this radical bill.  here they are:

    10. It moves New York State in the opposite direction of “safe, legal and rare.”
    9.  It would undermine beneficial maternity and prenatal care programs, which could be deemed “discriminatory” for favoring childbirth over abortion.
    8.  It could be used to compel Catholic Charities and Catholic schools to counsel and refer for abortion.
    7.  It could be used to compel all hospitals, even Catholic hospitals, to allow abortions on premises.
    6.  It makes abortion immune to prudent regulations supported by large majorities of the public: parental notification for minors’ abortions, restrictions on taxpayer funding, informed consent or a waiting period for pregnant women.
    5.   By inserting a broad “health” exception into our law, it opens up third-trimester abortions for any reason at all, leading to more late-term abortions of viable, fully formed infants.
    4.   By repealing the requirement in current law that only a licensed physician may perform an abortion, it endangers women’s lives.
    3.   By tying the abortion expansion plan to helping victims of domestic violence and ending pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, these important objectives are held hostage to an illogical and ideological agenda.
    2.   It will not foster women’s health or dignity or promote women’s equality.
    1.   It defies common sense because New York is already the abortion capital of the nation, with 33% of pregnancies ending in abortion, over 40% in New York City.

    All the state-wide pro-life groups have joined in a new coalition to defeat the bill.  We’ve taken the name “New Yorkers for Life”, and have started up a Facebook page and Twitter account.  We would like to use these as rally points for pro-lifers, to express their opposition to the bill and to get more information.  Please spread the word to everyone you know, encourage people to “Like” the page on Facebook, and share it with their friends and contacts, and to “Follow” it on Twitter.

    The New York State Catholic Conference has put up an alert on the bill.  Please let others know about this, and urge them to contact their legislators and the Governor.

    We already have too many abortions in New York.  Enough is enough.

    How Many Abortions are Enough for Governor Cuomo?

    Saturday, January 12th, 2013

    111,212

    77,327

    41%

    Those are, in order: the number of abortions that took place in 2010 in New York State, abortions specifically in New York City, and the percentage of pregnancies in the City that end in abortion.  Stated in such bald terms, they are appalling, and each one of them represents a tragedy to mothers, fathers, and the unborn children.

    We want the number to be zero, of course, but you would think that even for a “pro-choice” politician with any sense of balance and sanity, those numbers would be too high.

    Apparently not for for our ideologically committed and politically ambitious Governor Andrew Cuomo.    He appears to be fine with even more abortions.

    In his State of the State speech last week, the Governor literally shouted his support for a woman’s “right to choose”, and called for the passage of a bill named the “Reproductive Health Act”.  The better name for the bill is the “Unlimited Abortion Act”, because it would remove any limitations on abortion, and prevent any further limitations.

    This bill has nothing whatsoever to do with reproductive health.  It is an extremist bill that would:

  • Establish the destruction of unborn human beings as a “fundamental right”;
  • Make it impossible to pass common-sense regulations, like parental notification laws;
  • Permit non-doctors to perform abortions;
  • Undermine or eliminate the conscience protections in law that protect religious liberties, under the guise of eliminating “discrimination” against the newly-recognized “fundamental right”;
  • Require Church-owned hospitals, social service agencies, and schools to promote, perform, or refer for abortions;
  • Force our schools to help pregnant girls to get an abortion, or risk being sued for “discrimination”;
  • Endanger the licenses of doctors, nurses, and other professionals if they don’t promote, perform or refer for abortions.
  • People need to let their elected officials know that we don’t want any more abortions in New York.  There are too many already.  An easy way to contact your representatives is through the New York State Catholic Conference’s Catholic Action Network.

    Pro-abortion politicians used to posture that they wanted abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare”.  But our Governor doesn’t even pretend to care any longer about how rare abortion should be.  He doesn’t seem to want any limits on it — even laws that have been proven in other states to reduce the number of abortions and that are supported by wide majorities.

    How many abortions are enough for our extremist pro-abortion Governor?   To even have to ask such a question is the essence of the modern tragedy of the Culture of Death.

    The Next Steps on the Mandate

    Monday, July 23rd, 2012

    The deadline for the implementation of the HHS contraception/abortion mandate is now upon us. As of August 1, religious organizations will have to compromise their consciences and comply, or apply to the government for an extension or exemption, or risk the penalties of non-compliance.

    This deadline will probably have little direct and immediate impact on ordinary Catholics who already have health insurance from Medicare or a private employer. But for the Church, any danger of being forced to compromise with sin will do incalculable damage.  A number of Catholic institutions and dioceses are challenging the mandate in court, but those cases won’t be decided for quite some time.

    In the meantime, here are some suggestions about what people can do at this point:

    Prayer — This is, of course, our ultimate weapon. We need to pray for our nation; for our elected and appointed officials, for a conversion of heart; for our judges, for wisdom in applying the law to these cases; for those who will be affected by this mandate, that they will have the wisdom and courage to resist as best they can.  For some suggestions about prayer activities, see our webpage about the Fortnight for Freedom.

    Advocate — There are significant legislative initiatives that would overturn the HHS mandate and protect our freedom of religion. First and foremost are the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act and the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act. These bills stand on their own, but they are also being attached to appropriations bills that are pending in the House of Representatives. if your Congressional representative is on the Appropriations Committee, please contact and urge them to keep conscience protection in the funding bill.

    Support our Bishops — During this bruising political season, our bishops have been taking a beating in the media. They need our support and help, and it would lift their spirits if they heard from faithful Catholics, in support of their efforts to defend the freedom of the Church.

    There is an old saying, often mis-attributed to Edmund Burke, but which is true regardless of who said it: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”

    Don’t lose hope!  Throughout history, the Lord has stood by us in our hour of need, and assured us, as He did to Gideon, “I will be with you” (Judges 6:16).  Let us pray with confidence to Our Lady, Help of Christians, for the strength and constancy we need.

    The Power of the Truth

    Friday, May 4th, 2012

    On April 30, I attended the public meeting of the Westchester Board of Legislators, to present the statement of the Archdiocese in opposition of the “clinic access” bill that would unfairly restrict the free speech rights of pro-life witnesses outside of abortion clinics.

    That statement reads as follows:

    A bill is now pending before the Westchester Board of Legislators, which will violate the Constitutional rights of those who give pro-life witness outside abortion clinics.

    We urgently call upon all members of the Board to oppose this unjust bill.

    This bill is premised upon the false assumption that there is a significant problem with disorder outside of abortion clinics. Actually, law-abiding citizens give peaceful and prayerful pro-life witness on a regular basis, offering valuable information to women approaching the clinics without violating any of the currently-existing federal and state laws regarding access to abortion clinics. Despite such a clear record of respect for the law, this legislation is designed to prevent pro-life advocates from speaking freely merely because their speech is considered unwelcome by some powerful interest groups that favor and profit from abortion.

    This legislation is fundamentally unfair to ordinary citizens who wish to express their Constitutional rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion. It is vague and ambiguous so that ordinary people could not possibly know what kinds of behavior or speech are prohibited.  Ultimately, it is unfair to women who have a right to information before they make their decision
    as to whether or not to have an abortion.

    This legislation does a disservice to these women, to their unborn children, and to society as a whole, and should therefore be rejected.

    I have been present at many legislative hearings, and I generally have low expectations.  We have to bear in mind that most legislative hearings are not like court proceedings — it’s not like arguing to a neutral jury or a judge who’s open to hearing both sides.  The legislators have largely made up their minds already.  But in some cases, hearings are a good place for the public airing of reasons for and against legislation, and some legislators may actually listen to what is being said.  Some of them are looking for a reason to take a position on a bill, and the hearing may give them that hook to hang their hat on.  I have been to several hearings where there was good interaction between legislators and witnesses.  Not many, but a few.

    In a way, it’s not so much what is said by the witnesses, but their presence and witness — so that the hearing becomes an indicator to the legislators of the depth of feeling about bills and a gauge of the political mood of the populace.

    In that light, the hearing was fairly typical of what I’ve experienced.  The public witness of so many pro-lifers was a good sign — it sent a message to our allies on the Board that they have a lot of support, and hopefully gave some of the wavering members some reason to lean our way.  Having so many “regular people” on our side — as opposed to the largely institutional witnesses on the other side (e.g., employees and activists from Planned Parenthood) — was a very good thing.  I think that the legislators are more impressed when lots of people testify who don’t make a living out of the issue at hand.  Five voters count for a lot more than one “spokesman”.

    The most powerful testimony was given by a young African-American woman, who spoke of her own abortions, and how she has come to regret them.  She has now dedicated herself to going to abortion clinics, and giving sidewalk counseling to other women contemplating abortion, to make sure that they understand that they have a choice.

    But there were so many others, who stood outside on long lines in the cold, awaiting an opportunity to come into the legislative chamber.  The hearing went on until after midnight, and many stayed until the wee hours to present their own testimony.

    The struggle against this bill is not over.  A final vote will be taken on May 7.  We are hoping that the County Executive will veto the bill, and that there will be enough votes on the Board to sustain the veto.  Residents of Westchester should contact their legislators — even if they’ve done so already, they should do it again, and again, and again.  To find the name of your legislator, go here.  Email and other contact information can be found here. The most effective advocacy comes from sustained contact between constituents and their legislators over a long period of time — visits, calls, emails, etc.

    So often, we feel powerless in the face of the large, powerful and rich forces that are arrayed against us.

    But the power of the truth, and the witness of those who are willing to testify to it with love, can never be underestimated.