MANHATTAN, N.Y. — Liberal New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and former New York Senator Hillary Clinton spoke on Monday at an event in which they called for the passage of a bill that some note would not only codify Roe v. Wade into state law, but would also expand the availability of abortion to late-term cases considered “necessary to protect the [mother’s] health” or when the baby is deemed nonviable.
“Today, … we mark the beginning of a new chapter in the fight for reproductive justice,” Clinton told those gathered at Barnard College in Manhattan, standing behind a podium that read “Reproductive Justice: No Time to Wait.” “A chance not only to defend hard-fought rights, but to actually move forward with legislation such as the Comprehensive Contraception Care Act and the Reproductive Health Act.”
Speaking for approximately eight minutes, the former presidential candidate asserted that access to contraception and abortion is a matter of women’s equality.
“[T]he struggle for women’s equality is not simply something to be read about in the pages of your history books. It continues to be the fight of our lifetime,” she said. “Women’s ability to get basic healthcare, our right to make the most deeply personal decisions, is facing the most significant threats in recent memory.”
“Yes, it is an economic issue, but more than that, it’s an issue of fairness, equality, justice and opportunity. I fiercely believe, as I said more than two decades ago, that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights,” Clinton stated, generating applause.
She asserted during her speech that New York is “in the midst of an epidemic of maternal mortality,” and also opined that making contraceptives more accessible will help curb unintended pregnancies.
“We can protect and expand access to safe and legal abortion for all New Yorkers, because having a right on paper doesn’t mean much unless you can exercise it in practice,” Clinton also declared.
Cuomo, who was introduced by Clinton, told those at the event that he has been “very purposeful” that “New York should be the progressive capital of the nation.”
He bemoaned the political climate in Washington, stating that while he has been told by state Republican senators that there is no need to codify Roe v. Wade into law because no administration would ever tamper with federal precedent, he believes those currently in charge pose a threat.
“We have an extreme conservative agenda in Washington. It’s their morality, it’s their interpretation of religion, it’s their interpretation of ethics, and they’re going to impose it on you,” Cuomo stated.
His remarks were reminiscent to those from July, when he blasted conservative politicians who “have their views about what religion is right and wrong, what lifestyle is right and wrong, what sexuality is right and wrong,” and impose on the people by law “their view of what God says should be done.”
Cuomo opined that U.S. Supreme Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh are likely to reverse Roe—a view that some Christians question—and said that the State of New York consequently needs to “protect ourselves.”
“I will not pass a budget until the Reproductive Health Act and the Contraceptive Care Act are passed, period,” he vowed, generating cheers and applause.
He also outlined that because he fears the repeal of such laws in the future, he wants to put forward a ballot initiative that would additionally codify the “right” to abortion in the state constitution.
“We’ll be able to say we have protected women’s rights in a way no one else has before,” Cuomo claimed, concluding his speech with “God bless you.”
Pro-life and pro-family groups in the state have expressed opposition to the Reproductive Health Act, including the group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, which released a three-page Memorandum of Opposition to the bill.
“The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) is an extreme and unnecessary piece of legislation that would endanger women and unborn children,” the document states. “The RHA would allow non-physicians to perform abortions, would take abortion-related crimes off the books in cases where pregnant women miscarry after being assaulted, and would repeal existing protections for children born alive following attempted late-term abortions.”
The group also expressed concern about the expansion into the “health” of the mother, which it believes is a broad term that could be utilized for virtually any reason. It pointed to the 1973 Supreme Court case of Doe v. Bolton, which determined that “medical judgment may be exercised in the light of 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.”
As previously reported, former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop once outlined that the life or health of the mother is never a reason for an abortion as doctors will simply deliver the baby in order to save both lives.
“Protection of the life of the mother as an excuse for an abortion is a smoke screen. In my 36 years of pediatric surgery, I have never known of one instance where the child had to be aborted to save the mother’s life,” he said. “If toward the end of the pregnancy complications arise that threaten the mother’s health, the doctor will induce labor or perform a Caesarean section.”
“[The doctor’s] intention is to save the life of both the mother and the baby,” Koop continued. “The baby’s life is never willfully destroyed because the mother’s life is in danger.”