Even by "pro-choice" standards, New York State's radical new abortion law is an abomination

In case you haven't heard, the New York legislature has passed, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed, the Reproductive Health Act, a law legalizing abortion literally up to the moment of birth.

Well, actually, it simply makes explicit what Roe v. Wade made the law of the land when it required that abortion be permitted right up until the moment of birth when it is deemed medically necessary to protect the life or health of the mother.

The key word is "deemed." In the case of a viable fetus, abortion is literally never a safer measure even for the mother than delivery by Caeserian section. But politics often trumps medicine, and  past experience has shown that the very elastic category of mental health is often used as an excuse to dispose of an inconvenient pregnancy. Nor need the diagnosis be one of clinical depression. Stress, perhaps, might do as legal justification for aborting a full-term fetus. Or just the idea that giving birth to a full-term fetus might make the mother sad or anxious.

So when the Left tells you that the New York law really doesn't change anything as a practical matter, it's really right- in spite of the care that it's taken ever since Roe was handed down to conceal the fact that as a practical matter it legalized abortion during all nine months of pregnancy in any case in which a politically motivated doctor could be found who was willing to lie. Previously, though, New York law at least cosmetically drew a sharp, bright line at 24 weeks, the point at which there can be no question that a fetus may be viable outside the womb, and at least forced a doctor to lie in order to authorize an abortion after that.

Now, even that nod toward honesty and decency has been removed in New York, and while it's always been open season on any fetus whose mother wants it dead right up until the moment of birth if a doctor is willing to claim the medically impossible, any pretence of respect for viable human life has been abandoned. The radical Left has at long last come right out and acknowledged what has been clear all along. Even the homage hypocrisy pays to decency is no longer required in the Empire State.

Federal law theoretically protects the life of infants who have actually been born, even as the result of failed abortions, although certain court decisions have cast doubt upon the supposed constitutionality of that law.  One may with reason ask whether there is any significant ethical difference between such a child and a nine-month fetus.  To all intents and purposes, the abortion of a fetus who could survive outside the womb and infanticide is purely rhetorical. Traditionally, the boundary in fetal development has been understood as being 24 weeks from the mother's last menstrual period; a new study has found that, with aggressive post-natal care, some newborns can survive as early as 22 weeks.

To put this into perspective, a recent Marist University poll found that 75% of Americans- including 60% of Democrats and 61% of those who consider themselves "pro-choice-" believe that abortion should be restricted to at most the first trimester. The radical New York law Gov. Cuomo has just signed lies outside the traditional debate over abortion. It legalizes something which nearly two-thirds of "pro-choice" Americans think is wrong.

Every year since Roe v. Wade was handed down, Gallup has conducted an annual poll asking the American people whether they believed that abortion should be legal in all circumstances, legal only in certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances. While one would never know it from the rhetoric of either the left or the left-leaning media, the poll has nearly always shown that a clear majority favored either the restriction or the outright banning of abortion. But the Reproductive Health Act carries abortion law in New York even further beyond our national consensus.

But there's more. Under the new law, one need not be a doctor to perform an abortion. Other health professionals can, too It might possibly be argued that paramedical professionals often have the necessary skills to do so without endangering the very health of the mother the new law uses as legal justification for full-term abortions. But the critical point is that the law removes abortion from the category of criminal law entirely. In December, a man in Saratoga County, New York was arrested for punching a woman who was 26 weeks pregnant in the stomach in an attempt to induce a miscarriage. The man was charged with a felony, abortion in the second degree. But the Catholic News Service reports that under the new law, no felony charges could be brought. It seems that misdemeanor assault would be the most serious charge to which he would have been liable. And since abortion even by a non-health professional is no longer governed by criminal law in New York State, it would indeed seem to follow that even a non-medical professional cannot be criminally prosecuted for performing it.

The back-alley abortionists whom pro-abortion advocates often cite as a justification for legalized abortion would seem to be back in business under the new law. On what planet, even by pro-abortion standards, is this an advancement?

This is a big deal. There will no doubt be efforts by the far left to minimize the negative impact of the new law, and they will often no doubt misrepresent the facts. But the most basic and undeniable fact is that the legislation is in even more violent opposition to our communal ethics and the American ethical consensus than is Roe. And it vividly illustrates why, as hateful and immoral as the agenda of the Trump administration is, the Democratic party does not offer a viable alternative.

Both parties are in thrall to extreme elements which lie outside the mainstream of American thought and conscience.


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