Editorials

New York’s Legislation Against Life

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After nearly a dozen years, New York’s radical abortion expansion bill is poised to become law—signed, sealed and delivered on Jan. 22, the 46th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that effectively legalized abortion across the country.

Among its provisions, New York’s Reproductive Health Act eliminates the state’s current restrictions on late-term abortions, empowers non-doctors to perform abortions and removes protections against unwanted or coerced abortions.

We are greatly distressed by this development and pray that the women of New York state will make the life-affirming choice to love and nurture their unborn babies as a gift from God.

We ask also that Catholics pray for the intercession of St. Gianna Molla, an Italian Catholic wife and mother and patron of the unborn, to change hearts and minds.

Just as important, we urge all of you to immediately contact your legislators and object to this extremist bill; the New York State Catholic Conference has a link at www.nyscatholic.org to guide you. Those of us who support the pro-life cause still have voices and must make them heard; it’s our duty to future generations and to unborn children at risk.

We also encourage those planning to travel to Washington, D.C., for the annual March for Life this Friday, Jan. 18, to make the trip with a renewed commitment to support and pray for this important cause.

With the help of New York’s pro-life community, the Catholic Church in New York waged a long and principled campaign against the abortion expansion bill, which was first introduced in 2007 by then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer. It was re-introduced in 2013 by Gov. Andrew Cuomo as part of a 10-point bill that sought to expand abortion and other issues aimed at protecting women’s rights and opportunities.

We’re proud that the Church, through the Catholic Conference, supported and worked for passage of nine of those points—which addressed things like housing and workplace discrimination and human trafficking—while keeping the abortion section at bay.

With the support of the longtime Republican majority in the State Senate, the state’s pro-life movement was able to hold off abortion expansion. But the newly elected Democratic majority in the Senate swept to victory with the abortion measure as a campaign issue and Gov. Cuomo is a staunch supporter.

Looking toward the future, Kathleen Gallagher, director of pro-life activities and the Catholic Action Network for the state Catholic Conference, is calling on Catholics to actively promote life-affirming choices for women in their communities, such as pregnancy-center services and social support through Catholic Charities, and to support abortion-healing programs such as Project Rachel or Rachel’s Vineyard, and parish-based respect life ministries.

Pro-life New Yorkers who want to mark the Jan. 22 bill-signing day— a sad day for the movement, to be sure—are invited to attend a prayer vigil for life led by the Sisters of Life and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal at 6:30 p.m. in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Sister Virginia Joy, S.V., director of the archdiocesan Respect Life Office, issued a welcome to all “so that we can come before the Lord, begging his mercy on our state that, beyond our reasoning, is so hostile to this tremendous gift.”

“Life,” she said, “is never a threat or a burden, but always a gift.

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