Just hours after the state Senate and Assembly passed it, Cuomo signed the bill, legalizing abortion for basically any reason up to birth in New York state, Rochester City Newspaper reports.
The pro-abortion governor gave Sarah Weddington, the attorney in the Roe v. Wade case, a special seat next to him Tuesday evening, as abortion activists around them cheered, the AP reports.
Cuomo said he hopes other states will follow in New York’s footsteps and pass similar pro-abortion laws.
“With the signing of this bill, we are sending a clear message that whatever happens in Washington, women in New York will always have the fundamental right to control their own body,” Cuomo said in a statement.
The so-called Reproductive Health Act goes beyond Roe v. Wade, allowing unborn babies to be aborted even when the U.S. Supreme Court has said states may restrict abortions. Late-term abortions, which currently are illegal in New York, would be allowed, and non-doctors would be allowed to perform them.
New York pro-lifers fought successfully for more than a decade to defeat the radical pro-abortion bill. But the November election put pro-abortion Democrats in control of both state houses, and the politicians made abortion on demand a priority for the new year.
New York State Right to Life mourned what the new law will mean for babies and mothers, but promised to continue fighting to protect them.
“RHA is an extreme bill sold to the public saying it merely ‘updates’ New York’s law, which is far from true,” the pro-life organization said in a statement. “RHA will expand abortion past 24 weeks through birth, make abortion a ‘fundamental right,’ and prohibit all limits, which Roe vs. Wade did not do.
“[We] will continue to work to expose the misinformation put forth about RHA, protect children and their mothers, protect the rights of pro-life persons to engage in life-saving activities and express their views, and to build a culture of Life in New York,” the group continued.
The law appears to restrict late-term abortions, but it adds a broad “health” exception for abortions after 24 weeks. The exception would allow women to abort unborn babies up to nine months of pregnancy for basically any reason, including “age, economic, social and emotional factors,” according to New York Right to Life.
It also redefines a “person” as “a human being who has been born and is alive,” and describes abortion as a “fundamental right.”
The legislation poses serious dangers to women’s lives and rights as well. By removing protections from illegal abortions, the law will open the door for abuses. According to New York RTL, back alley abortionists, abusive partners or parents and others no longer will face charges for illegally killing an unborn baby – even if the mother wants her child.
“In early December, a resident of Saratoga County was arrested for punching the stomach of a woman who was 26 weeks pregnant in an attempt to cause a miscarriage. The man was charged with abortion in the second degree, but under the RHA, the attacker would not have been charged with a felony,” according to the Catholic News Service.
Protections for babies born alive after botched abortions also would end under the new bill. Additionally, the bill says the state cannot “deny, regulate or restrict” abortion, not even for common-sense reasons such as parental consent for minors, informed consent or limits on taxpayer-funded abortions.
New York State Right to Life predicted that the bill will lead to the suppression of pro-lifers’ freedom of speech and conscience as well. Doctors and nurses who refuse to help abort unborn babies could lose their jobs, and pro-life advocates could be persecuted for just speaking out for life.
Already one of the most pro-abortion states in America, New York would become even more pro-abortion if the law passes. In 2016, 82,189 unborn babies were aborted in New York, with about half being taxpayer-funded, according to the local news. Of those babies, 1,763 were at least 20 weeks, meaning they may have been viable outside the womb.
Meanwhile, a new poll indicates this radical pro-abortion legislation is not what Americans want. According to a national poll conducted by Marist University, three in four Americans (75 percent) say abortion should be limited to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy. This includes most of those who identify as Republicans (92 percent), Independents (78 percent) and a majority of Democrats (60 percent). It also includes more than six in 10 (61 percent) who identify as “pro-choice” on abortion.
The Marist Poll follows on the heels of a May 2018 Gallup poll which found that 53 percent of Americans oppose all or most abortions.