Archive for the ‘Abortion’ Category

What Shall We Do to Build a Culture of Life?

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

(I was invited this weekend to speak at all the Masses at St. Augustine’s Church in Ossining, one of our beautiful parishes, for Respect Life Month.  Here is the text of my talk.)

When St. John the Baptist moved among the people, he preached to them about the approach of the Messiah.  The people kept asking him the same question — “what shall we do?”  And now, all of us who are concerned about respect for life ask that same question.  “What shall we do?”

In 1985, in his encyclical letter, The Gospel of Life, Blessed Pope John Paul II addressed the threats that are so serious and widespread that they have created a virtual “culture of death”. We see this in violent crime, war, terrorism, torture, human trafficking, the drug trade, the arms trade, and abject poverty.  But at this time, abortion and euthanasia must be the focus of our attention here in the United States. They involve unjust attacks on people when they are most vulnerable and defenseless, and they are tolerated and even approved by our society as “rights”.

But it’s important to remember that we don’t just say “no” to things, we say “yes” to becoming a people of life and for life, and to building a new culture of life.

To make this more concrete, I would like to offer a number of practical ideas.

Our first task is speaking the truth about the sacredness of every human life – about how God loves every single human person, and that every human life has dignity from the moment of conception.  This is not just a principle of our faith — we rely on the basic scientific fact, available to everyone who has seen a sonogram or a video of “life in the womb”.  Human life – the life of each one of us, the life of Jesus himself in his human nature – began at conception, and carries on until our natural death, and then on into eternal life.  Every one of us, regardless of our age, disability or diminished “quality of life”, is always and forever a human person and must be treated with reverence.  Our first task is to speak this truth about the gift of human life – always with love.

The second task is prayer.  We must pray constantly, with determination, patience and trust.  We thank God for the gift of life, and we ask Him to protect all vulnerable lives.  We do this as individuals, and we also pray as a community.  For example, praying the Rosary as a group, participating in the National Night of Prayer Vigil every December, or holding a Holy Hour on the Feast of the Incarnation of Christ (the Annunciation), or inviting people to spiritually adopt unborn children and pray for them during their nine months in the womb (kids especially love this).  We also celebrate life when we have special Masses and blessings of engaged couples, expectant parents, or new families, or communal anointing of the elderly and ill.  Life is a great gift!  And we should celebrate that in our prayer.

The third task is to serve those in need, especially the most vulnerable.  For example, we help the elderly by visiting and offering companionship, or we offer expectant mothers alternatives to abortion.  There are many wonderful groups that do that, like Good Counsel Homes and the Sisters of Life.  We can help them by taking up collections (for example, a “baby bottle” campaign to collect small change), or by running baby showers for the new moms, or by volunteering to help with simple tasks, like driving the moms to doctors’ appointments.  Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has been emphasizing our duty as Christians to reach out personally  to the needy and those who seem lost in our society and without hope, and this is a beautiful way to promote and defend human life.

A particularly important way we serve others is through public policy advocacy. Last Spring, the New York State Legislature came very close to passing a bill that would have expanded abortion in our state.  We already have 110,000 abortions a year.  We don’t need any more abortion, we need more life!  But this bill would have allowed even more abortion by allowing non-doctors to do abortions, and removing the few remaining regulations on late-term abortions.  This bill was defeated because citizens raised their voices in opposition, by letter, call, email, participation in public witness and prayer rallies in Albany and locally.  The bill was defeated, but it will come back, and we have to be ready.

I’d like to take a moment to say a special word about how we can serve women and men who have experienced an abortion.  The Gospel of Life is a message of hope and mercy and healing.  Those who have experienced an abortion should never give in to discouragement and despair.  Our loving God is always ready to give forgiveness and peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The Sisters of Life run regular retreats for those who have experienced abortion, and other groups like Lumina provide support for the healing process.  Pope Francis has spoken movingly about the power of God’s mercy, and how we all can invite others to experience that mercy themselves.  There is always hope and healing available.

The most important way we build the culture of life is within our own families, where we welcome and nurture new life, and where we support, comfort, and defend our elderly and disabled loved ones.  Our families should be a school of life!  So, married couples should never stop working on our marriages.  Parents can never stop working on your relationship with your children, teach them how to live virtuous, chaste lives and about the value of every life.  In the end, strong families and marriages are the foundation of the culture of life.

Each and every one of us has a role to play in this mission given to us in the Gospel of Life.  So many people are doing so much already, and God bless you for that and thank you.  But every one of us can do something.  Please speak to members of your local pro-life committee, or check out the website of the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese.

At the end of every Mass, we often hear the words, “Go, and announce the Gospel of the Lord”, or “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life”.  These words don’t just mean that Mass is over – they also mean that we are being sent on a mission.  We are called — each one of us — to go back out into our regular lives and proclaim the Gospel of Life.

By bearing witness to the dignity of every human person.  By helping parents recognize that even though a pregnancy may be difficult or inconvenient, a child is always a blessing.  By ensuring that every young woman understands that there are alternatives to abortion, and that she will be given the help and support she needs.  By making certain that all of our elderly are protected against abandonment, and are always be loved and cared for.

And ultimately, our mission is to love, defend and serve all our brothers and sisters, from conception until natural death.  By our words and our deeds we can build a new culture of life in our land.  We ask the question, “What shall we do?”  And when, one day, we are asked by Our Lord, “What did you do?”, we will be able to answer, we were a people of life and for life, and Our Lord will be pleased with that answer, He will thank us, He will be proud of us, and He will receive us into eternal life with Him.

The Mask Comes Off

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

During the bruising battle last Spring over Governor Cuomo’s abortion expansion bill, we repeatedly argued that one of the intended goals of the proposal was to permit non-doctors to perform surgical abortions.  In response, we were routinely derided as being alarmist and accused of lying about the bill.  Even the most ardent supporters of the bill denied having any such intention, and denied that it would have that effect.

They were wrong, of course, because the bill clearly would have permitted non-doctors to do abortions.  In fact, one of its supporters finally admitted that on the floor of the Assembly.

But it says something that the pro-abortion people still felt a need to conceal their ultimate goals.

Well, in California, they recently enacted a law that would permit physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives to do chemical and surgical early abortions.  The ostensible reason for this law is to increase “access” to abortion, which they see as an inherent part of women’s “reproductive health”.

Yes, you read correctly that midwives would be doing abortions, even though the entire purpose of their profession is to assist in giving birth.  And yes, an abortion is seen as being part of “reproductive health”, even though it prevents reproduction and is hazardous to the health of both mother and child. Such is the twisted mindset of the anti-life ideology.

It says something about the state of things in California that the pro-abortion people don’t even feel a need to hide things any more.  They are comfortable with being open, up-front, and honest about their goals — they want abortion to be unsafe, extremely legal, and anything but rare, and they don’t mind at all that people know about it.

This is an important lesson on the impact of the Culture of Death.  When respect for life becomes so attenuated, and the desire to deal death becomes so routine, truth is inverted into lies, and lies become respectable.  It is a cautionary tale for all of us, since we will certainly see a renewed effort by the Governor and his allies to pass an abortion expansion law here in New York.

Yet Another HHS Mandate Fraud

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

The Administration has once again announced yet another attempt to square a circle, and they have once again failed.  And so, we now have new regulations on the HHS mandate — the requirement that employer health insurance policies cover abortifacient drugs, sterilization, and contraception.

The objections of the Church to this violation of our rights are well known, and were asserted yet again by Cardinal Dolan on behalf of the U.S. Bishops.

The Administration and its allies, on the other hand, continue to assert that they have already satisfied all objections, and, in effect that religious people and organizations should just sit down, be quiet, and obey.

Not so fast.  The new regulations — just like the old ones — are a fraud and a violation of fundamental rights.

Consider the alleged “exemption” and “accommodation” for some religious employers.

The “exemption” would certainly grant protection to many religious organizations, but nobody knows how many, or how few.  The key provision in the regulation refers to an obscure part of the Internal Revenue Code that is not exactly written in clear and self-evident prose.  Nobody knows how, in the end, the IRS will interpret and apply that provision.  Does anyone trust them to do so in an even-handed way?

The “accommodation” is even more problematic.  Every religious non-profit that objects to the mandate knows that when they offer their staff health insurance, they will also be providing them the objectionable products and services.  It is true that they won’t have to list the offensive things in their plan booklet, but they know that they’re covered in any event — and that the employer will be paying for them.  As a moral matter, that’s really no different from directly and explicitly providing for the coverage in the insurance plan.

The “accommodation” is basically asking religious non-profits to accept a lie and pretend that it is the truth.

The new regulations offer no help whatsoever to for-profit businesses.  They will be coerced into providing, promoting, and paying for morally offensive things.  Nothing is changed for them in the fundamental injustice of the HHS mandate, and their many lawsuits against the mandate will go forward.

The heart of the matter ultimately doesn’t depend on specifics of these very complex regulations.  We have a situation where the government is forcing people to cooperate in immoral activities, either directly or under a transparent fig leaf of lies.

There is a core of liberty that is inherent in the nature of the human person, into which the government may not intrude without becoming a tyranny.  One such area is the natural right of individuals and institutions to be free from government coercion of their consciences.  One would have thought that this was made clear on July 4, 1776, and that the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials would serve as ample reminders of those principles.

Apparently the lesson has been forgotten in our nation’s capital.

Truth, Lies, and the Power of Prayer

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Last Friday, the Governor’s Abortion Expansion Act was defeated.  The final days of the legislative session were chaotic and hard to understand, and there were many behind-the-scenes maneuvers going on.  But in the end, the Assembly voted — to their shame — for more abortion in our state, but the Senate refused to go down that path.

It was a close call.  The change of only one vote in the Senate would have resulted in an expansion of late-term abortions, and permission for non-doctors to do abortions, among other things.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that elections don’t matter.

There were several key lessons that were learned in the last few weeks of this long effort — remember, we have been working against this bill for over six years.

Lies Don’t Work — the Truth Will Come Out.

For months, the proponents of the bill were telling blatant falsehoods about what it was all about.  They claimed — inconsistently — that it was a “historic” measure that would ensure abortion rights, and also that it did nothing to change New York law.  They argued that it would not permit non-doctors to do abortions — although in the end, during the legislative debate, they finally admitted that it would.  And they said that it wouldn’t increase late-term abortions — although that was the only possible result of including a broad “health of the mother” justification for destroying viable unborn children.

These falsehoods were in the very heart of the Governor’s proposal, and they couldn’t be glossed over or ignored.  Eventually the strength of the truth carried the day, and the key Senators were persuaded to oppose the bill.

Abortion law in general is based on a great lie — that human life is disposable.  This bill built lie upon lie, and in the end couldn’t stand.

Prayer and Witness are Powerful

There were powerful and wealthy forces promoting the Governor’s “Women’s Equality Act” — of which the abortion plank played the central role.  The Governor himself is a potent political figure, and he had all his administration to rely on to promote the bill.  The press was, as usual, not with us.  Abortion advocacy groups were spending time, money and energy to push for the expansion of abortion.

Just to give you an idea of what we were up against, in May there were press reports that groups allied with the Governor were committing over $1,000,000 to run advertisements in favor of the agenda.  And that was only a small part of the money spent by abortion advocates.

On our side, we had a coalition of committed but cash-poor organizations.  But we had some things that our adversaries did not — the power of prayer and public witness.

So we concentrated on using inventive means of social networking, YouTube advertising, local prayer rallies, a candlelight vigil in Albany, Holy Hours, Rosaries.  In the last, critical week, hundreds of pro-lifers went to Albany to give public witness in the hallways of the Legislature, cheering on the lawmakers who were standing up for life.

We must never underestimate the power of prayer and public witness.  In any uphill struggle, we can always count on the power of God, and the impact of people who are willing to stand up and make their faith known.

Thanks be to God for the strength and support that He gave to us, and for the grace that He shone into the hearts of the legislators who stood with us.   May that grace also convert the hearts of those in the grips of the Culture of Death.

Remember, “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31)

The Spiritual Struggle

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

The legislative session in New York is winding down to its last chaotic week, and the fate of the Governor’s stealth abortion expansion bill is still undecided.  Today, pro-life people from around the state will be traveling to Albany for one final effort to oppose this evil bill.

At times like these, it is all too easy to think that the entire fight is about politics, and media, and activism.  But it’s not — a great spiritual celestial battle is taking place around and within us.

We see its signs everywhere — the addiction to lies to justify abortion,  hardening of human hearts towards vulnerable people, the building of structures of sin to protect abortion, desensitization to violence and evil, a growing commitment to consequentialism and utilitarianism, a spirit of division in communities and families, and hatred and intolerance, particularly towards God and people of faith.  All of these, of course, are the weapons and fruits of our Enemy, deployed in spiritual combat against us.

Perhaps more than anything else, we see the tragedy of the potential loss of souls.  This legislation is undoubtedly very important, but it pales in significance next to the possible loss of a even single human soul.  And that is always the highest goal of our Adversary.

At times like these, it is valuable to recall the words of St. Paul:

For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12)

We who are in this struggle feel this acutely.  We are deeply troubled and saddened in heart by the sight of baptized Christians who openly support abortion, or even avidly advocate for it.  These are our brothers and sisters in Christ, yet they have accepted the Enemy’s lies and damaged their communion with Our Lord — hurting themselves, and hurting us as well.  As much as we seek to convince them of their mistakes, we must also dedicate ourselves to prayer and acts of reparation, offered up for their conversion and their reconciliation to the Body of Christ.

We also feel it in our own hearts, in our very common feelings of powerlessness and defeatism, and the frustration, anger and bitterness that go along with them.  We are ever mindful of our own sins, and we become burdened by our weakness and unworthiness.  These too are weapons of the Enemy, meant to discourage us — literally, to rob us of our courage.  Prayer and reparation are also called for, that we may receive the graces of fortitude and perseverance.

We also must remember that in this struggle, we have mighty allies who also strive endlessly against the Enemy.   We are always under the protective mantle of Our Blessed Mother, the Queen of Heaven.  We are united in prayer with the Church around the world and throughout time.  We are continually strengthened by Our Lord, particularly in the Sacraments.  And we fight alongside the angelic hosts and our patron saints — think of it, we bear arms alongside St. Michael, and we draw swords with St. Joan!

We are confident that the Spirit is with us, and will lift us up.  And at times like these, in the midst of this struggle, it is always worth calling to mind the words of our Lord:

In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Non-Doctors and the Abortionist’s Dream Act

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

For months, we have been predicting that the Governor’s abortion expansion proposal would permit non-doctors to perform abortions.  That was because the only bill that he would allow us to see was the Reproductive Health Act, which would have allowed any “licensed qualified health care practitioner” to terminate the life of an unborn child.

Now the Governor has finally released his actual bill, and I’ve taken to calling it the Stealth Abortion Expansion Act, because it does all the same terrible things as the former bill, but it does so in such subtle ways that at first blush  might seem insignificant, but which take on great meaning once properly understood.

A case in point is the way that the Governor’s bill would permit non-doctors to do surgical abortions, even late-term abortions up until the moment of birth.  It’s done by a combination of several key changes to current law they might easily be overlooked by the casual observer:

First, by repealing all of the current Penal Law provisions that permit criminal prosecutions of some abortions, if they are “inconsistent” with the rest of the bill.  Those sections of the law right now include a specific requirement that, to be lawful, an abortion must be performed by “a duly licensed physician” (Penal Law section 125.05(3)).  The Governor’s bill would erase that requirement from the law — again, to the extent that it is “inconsistent” with other parts of the bill.

Next, the bill is silent about who could do abortions.  It doesn’t even have the provision from the old Reproductive Health Act about a “licensed qualified health care practitioner”.  The only reference in the bill to a physician is to authorize an abortion at any stage in pregnancy if a doctor deems it necessary for her “health”.  But it doesn’t say anything about who would actually do the abortion.

This silence is very significant, when taken together with the following provision in the bill:

No prosecution or proceeding shall be brought or maintained under the penal law or otherwise for acts that are authorized or permitted pursuant to this section or by this chapter and the education law” (emphasis added)

To understand the incredible breadth of this simple sentence, you have to know that the Health Department, acting under wide authority granted to it by the Education Law, can define the proper “scope of practice” for health professionals.  It can also enact wide-ranging regulations that govern surgical and medical activities.  Those determinations are not reviewable by courts, and do not have to be ratified by the Legislature.  The decision would be made by bureaucrats in Albany, accountable to nobody.  They wouldn’t even have to publish regulations for the public to see — they routinely make such decisions by private letter rulings given to interested parties.

As a result, this sweeping provision would give the Health Department the unlimited authority to permit anyone — even non-health professionals — to do abortions.  It would immunize any such non-doctor abortionist from any criminal prosecution under the old Penal Law sections (that would be “inconsistent” with this section of the bill) or for practicing medicine without a license, or any kind of civil proceeding (including an action for professional misconduct).   That means abortion with impunity for those favored by the Health Department.

It actually gets worse.  The bill would permit abortion of any child who is not “viable” for any reason, at any time in the pregnancy.  But this key term is completely undefined in the bill — it would be left entirely in the discretion of the abortionist to determine if a child is “viable” or not, with no legal standard to go by and no requirement that any other person (much less a trained doctor) concur with that determination.

Think about that for a second.  This bill would allow non-doctors, people with far less training and experience than physicians, to make their own decisions about whether a baby could survive outside the womb, and then to perform surgery to kill that child — even up to the moment of birth.

This is a stunning expansion of abortion.  And it is not an accident, given that the bill was written in collaboration with abortionists and their apologists.

I’ve been calling the Governor’s proposal the Stealth Abortion Expansion Act.

We should be calling it the Abortionist’s Dream Act.

The Real Law and the Abortion Expansion Bill

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

The Governor has finally released his abortion proposal, as part of a “Women’s Equality Act”.   The Cardinal and his brother Bishops have issued a strong and clear statement on the bill.  The Bishops make clear that they are eager to support measures that would really enhance the lives of women in our state.  But they also make clear that the abortion component is totally unacceptable, and is, in effect, a stealth abortion expansion bill.

I urge everyone to read that statement, and then take action to oppose this proposal.  But there are a couple of things that I would like to add on my own behalf, because there are some inaccurate things being said by promoters of the bill — principally the allegation that it merely “codifies federal law” by enacting the standards set in the infamous Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.

Actually, Roe v. Wade is no longer the controlling federal constitutional standard on abortion.  It’s important to understand a bit of the history here, to get why this matters so much.  The legal standard established in Roe was very liberal, and courts used it to strike down virtually every abortion regulation passed by state legislatures.  But as time went along, the Supreme Court backed away from the extremism of Roe, and eventually adopted a standard that permitted more leeway for states to regulate abortion.  This led to the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which purported to retain the “central holding” of Roe, but which actually transformed the applicable legal standard in a way that made it somewhat more possible for states to regulate abortion successfully.

So if the goal is really to “codify” current federal constitutional law on abortion, a reference to Roe is completely misplaced.  (Just to be clear, we would also oppose even a codification of the Casey standard, since that permits the unjust oppression of unborn children, particularly before viability.)

This is not just a lawyer’s quibble — it really matters in practice.  This proposal would actually codify the high-water mark of liberal abortion law, and ignore the subsequent legal developments that have pared that standard back.  It would lock in place an abortion law that is extremely permissive and hostile to any attempt to regulate or restrict the practice in any way.

In addition, the proposal not only ignores the current constitutional standard, it also ignores other important developments that have already been codified in federal  law — like the Hyde Amendment (restrictions on public funding), the partial birth abortion ban, the criminalization of violence against unborn children (Lacy and Conner’s Law), and more robust conscience protections (like the Church Amendment and the Hyde-Weldon Amendment).

So this proposal cherry-picks federal law, selecting only the liberalized pro-abortion elements that the advocates want, and rejecting the reasonable pro-life elements that they consistently oppose whenever they appear.

If the bill really doesn’t expand abortion rights, then what purpose does it serve, and why are the pro-abortion advocates so enthusiastic about it?  The fact is, this bill would permit abortion for any reason up to the moment of birth, it would allow non-doctors to do abortions, it could coerce cooperation with abortion by those with moral objections, and it would eliminate any chance of reasonable regulations of abortion.

This bill would give the pro-abortion advocates just about everything they’ve ever dreamed of — a more permissive environment for abortion, with virtually no legal limits.

The Meanings of the Gosnell Verdict

Monday, May 13th, 2013

The Philadelphia abortionist, Kermit Gosnell, has now been convicted of multiple counts of murder. It is a sad testament to the disordered legal environment that prevails in America could a man who aborted viable babies every single day will only be held accountable to the law for a small fraction of the number of children whose lives he snuffed out so brutally.  It is equally bizarre that this man would now face the possibility of a death sentence as a penalty for these deaths that he caused (we pray that he will not be executed, so that he may have more time to come to repentance).

Many people are asking what is the significance of this verdict. I believe it has meaning far beyond this particular case.

It reveals the true nature of an industry whose product is death and heartbreak, masked by the duplicitous propaganda of “choice”. It indicts a profession that fails to rid itself of members whose practices are reminiscent of an ancient age of barbarism. It condemns the political and government mindset — not just in Philadelphia, but in other “liberal” areas like New York — so ideologically blinded in its devotion to sexual liberation without consequences that it ignores the duty to enforce rudimentary health and safety codes. It casts judgment upon a society so deeply steeped in the Culture of Death that it averts its eyes from the reality of abortion — thousands of lives snuffed out every day, others damaged physically or psychologically — until a grossly sensational story compels it to pay brief attention.

The verdict offers our wounded society a moment of painful self-awareness. It also holds out a chance to turn away from the path that leads to the Gosnell clinics around us, and enter instead the path of reason, compassion, love, and redemption. We must pray — and work — that our society chooses rightly.

Entering the Home Stretch on the Reproductive Health Act

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

The New York State Legislature is approaching the last six weeks of its session, and there are still some key things to be done to stop the Reproductive Health Act — the extreme Abortion Expansion Act.

Based on recent public statements, it appears that a stand-alone abortion expansion bill still lacks the votes needed for passage.  It’s very encouraging that the Senate Majority Leader, Dean Skelos, has repeatedly affirmed that he will not allow any kind of abortion bill to come to the floor of the Senate.  The Governor, however, is still seeking support for a bill and continues to insist that an abortion proposal will be included in an omnibus “women’s equality” bill — which would be extremely difficult to defeat.

So, we have to continue to stand together with our broad coalition of pro-life groups, “New Yorkers for Life”, and stress that while we support a real woman’s agenda, an expansion of abortion has no place in that.

Here are some practical things that can be done between now and the end of the legislative session in June:

  • Intensify our prayer efforts for conversion of heart of our public officials, and for courage in those who are opposing this bill.  It would be particularly important for specially-dedicated Holy Hours and Rosaries for this intention — this is the Month of Mary, and the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ is on June 2.
  • Public prayerful witnesses are also very important — like this recent one in the Bronx, or this one in Orange County.  Another prayerful witness is scheduled for May 29th in White Plains.
  • We need more organizations to sign onto the New Yorkers for Life Statement of Principles.  Please have your parishes, men’s or women’s groups, Knights of Columbus Councils — every organization you can think of — sign the statement.  This is very important — legislators are trying to get a sense of the depth of  feeling in their districts on this issue, and are paying attention to how many groups sign the statement.
  • Contact Majority Leader Skelos, to thank him for his strong public statements against the bill.  These messages can be sent through the Catholic Action Network.  By the way, just to give you an idea, almost 3,000 “thank you” emails have been sent to Sen. Skelos — just in the last few days.  Our voices are being heard!
  • Continue to contact our own elected officials, and write letters and op-eds for our local newspapers and other media outlets.  You can get information about local media outlets through the Catholic Action Network (click on “Media Guide”).
  • Keep people informed.  It’s vital that we counter the misleading statements by abortion activists about this proposal (e.g., that it would merely codify existing federal law and thus have no effect on the general availability of abortion).   There is a wealth of information on the websites of New Yorkers for Life, the New York State Catholic Conference, and this blog.
  • We are entering the home stretch for this legislative session.  This bill can be defeated.  Now is the time to renew our commitment to defend human life, and to call upon Almighty God for the grace we need to do His will.

    Philippians 4:13 says it all — “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”

    What Stands Between Us and Gosnell?

    Monday, April 29th, 2013

    You can’t expect the Times to cover abortion stories fairly, but it shouldn’t be too much to ask them to read legislation and report it correctly.  Once again, though, they fail even that basic test of journalism.

    To their credit, the Times reported today on Live Action’s latest video expose of the ugly practices of an abortion clinic in the Bronx.  And ugly it was — callous, heartless, and openly admitting that they murder live-born babies.  But of course, that’s what abortion is, all the time, every day.  It’s remarkable that the Times has finally taken some small notice of that fact.

    Unfortunately, the Times then went on to give a distorted and bizarre description of the Reproductive Health Act, the bill being pressed by the Governor and the abortion industry here in New York.  The Governor has been keeping the details of his bill under wraps, but there is an actual bill already in the Legislature, and no matter which one finally moves forward, this description by the Times is far off the mark:

    “Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, has thrown his support behind legislation that will guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy, if her health is in danger or if the fetus is not viable. The current law permits abortion after 24 weeks only if a woman’s life is in danger, although it is not enforced because federal court rulings have allowed less restrictive late-term abortions.”

    That would imply that RHA is only going to make minor adjustments to current New York law, to bring it into line with Supreme Court precedents.  But RHA goes far beyond that.  It would revolutionize our law, establishing abortion as a pre-eminent right that will be virtually immune from regulation, and enshrining New York as a wide-open territory for the abortion industry to do whatever it wants. It could be called the “Welcome Kermit Gosnell Act”.

    RHA would define abortion as unqualified “fundamental right”, placing it on the same legal plane as the right to vote or political speech.  It would require that all regulations of abortion stand up to the highest standard of review by courts (“compelling state interest/strict scrutiny”).  This means that all the reasonable regulations of abortion we see in other states — parental involvement in abortion decisions by minors, full informed consent (including sonograms), limits on late-term abortions, bans on sex-selection abortions, etc. — would be virtually impossible in New York.

    It would also make abortion even more unsafe than it already is.  Currently, New York law permits only doctors to perform abortions.  RHA would instead permit abortions 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 could include any health worker that the New York State Health Department feels like certifying, without any further consultation with the Legislature or the people of our state.  In other words, if the abortion industry wants to have invasive surgery done by non-doctors, then RHA is the perfect bill for them — regardless of the health risks to women.

    Current New York law also requires late-term abortions to be done only in hospitals.  This is a common-sense safety requirement, since late-term abortions are inherently more risky for the mother.  It’s also necessary to give a baby born alive after an abortion medical assistance to sustain her life — which is already required in a provision of New York law that is obviously being flouted in that Bronx clinic, and, most likely, in others as well.

    RHA would eliminate this hospital requirement and allow post-viability abortions to be performed on an outpatient basis in storefront offices that lack the resources to address any threats to the woman’s life, and the specialized medical staff and equipment to provide life support to any baby who survives the abortion.  It would also re-define “viability” in a way that would eviscerate the current legal protection for born-alive babies — leaving it entirely up to the discretion of the abortionist whether to provide any care.  Anyone who watches the Live Action video, or who has followed the Gosnell trial, knows that this leads directly to infanticide.

    Here’s what’s most frightening about RHA.  New York already has a “wild west” atmosphere when it comes to abortion.  But this bill sends a signal to the New York abortion industry that they are a special, protected class, and that they don’t have to worry about oversight, or scrutiny, or consequences.

    Nobody can name a single abortion clinic in New York that has been closed or cited for health violations in years.  Freedom of Information requests have been made to state and city governments asking for information about inspections, but there has been no answer.  So, we have a city that spends millions inspecting restaurants and sellers of large carbonated beverages, but can’t seem to find any abortion clinics to inspect.

    If that’s not chilling enough, consider this. At a public hearing a few years ago, Christine Quinn, who is the Speaker of the City Council and front-runner for mayor, lauded a witness as a “hero” for all that she did for “women’s health” and “reproductive rights”.  That witness was the medical director at the “Dr. Emily” clinic visited by Live Action.  Just think about that — a late-term abortionist who is a “hero” to our most powerful politicians, and whose ordinary practice, according to her staff, is to kill live-born infants.

    The Grand Jury in the Gosnell case pointed out that a “pro-choice” political atmosphere in Pennsylvania discouraged regulation and oversight of the abortion industry, allowing that clinic to do its business for years under the radar.  Passing RHA in New York will only encourage even more of that kind of laissez-faire attitude in New York.

    No matter how the Times tries to downplay it, if RHA is passed, there is nothing that stands between New York and Kermit Gosnell — or those like him, who are already here, operating in secret.