New York City, N.Y., Jan 9, 2019 / 11:00 am (CNA).- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for a change to the state’s constitution to enshrine abortion rights. Leading pro-life leaders called his statements "abhorrent" and "out of step" of mainstream politics.
Speaking Monday at an event in Manhattan, Cuomo said that he hopes to pass an amendment that “writes into the constitution a provision protecting a woman’s right to control her own reproductive health.” He was joined at the event, hosted at Barnard College, by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Pro-life activists decried Cuomo’s wish for a constitutional amendment protecting abortion and the imminent law as extremist politics at work.
"Gov. Cuomo's extremist push to conflate abortion with healthcare is a tragic example of politics and ideology triumphing over medicine and the science of embryology,” Americans United For Life CEO Catherine Glenn Foster told CNA.
In New York, changing the state constitution requires the state legislature to approve the amendment in addition to passage in a statewide voter referendum. The earliest such an amendment could be passed is 2021.
In the near term, the New York state legislature is likely to pass the Reproductive Health Act later this month. The legislation would codify the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade and that permit abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. The bill was first introduced in 2007.
The New York state senate recently returned to Democrat-majority control for the first time since 2010, and the bill is widely expected to become law.
Foster said that the Reproductive Health Act has “nothing to do with women’s rights or enhancing women’s health,” and instead, it would simply make abortion more dangerous by stripping away health and safety regulations on abortionists.
“Under Gov. Cuomo's leadership, New York nail salons will be more regulated than abortion facilities,” Foster added.
Foster’s comments were echoed by Tom McCluskey, March for Life vice president of government affairs.
McCluskey told CNA that it was “abhorrent” that Cuomo would prioritize abortion legislation during this time, and that this move was “out of step with the mainstream.”
“The American consensus has consistently supported limiting abortion to, at most, the first trimester,” McCluskey said, pointing out that only six countries allow abortion to occur after the 20th week of pregnancy.
“[The proposed amendment] is just another example of Democratic extremism that benefits none and hurts our most vulnerable.”
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