Date posted: June 13, 2013
Abortion industry lobbyists today announced that Gov. Cuomo’s abortion bill would be modified to include language related to partial-birth abortion. We believe such a change is intended to divert legislators’ attention from the real issues related to this bill, namely that it would expand late-term abortion for virtually any reason and would clear the way for the Department of Health to permit non-doctors to perform abortions.
The forthcoming amendment is likely to say something to the effect that nothing in the language of the bill conflicts with the federal partial-birth abortion ban, although it will most assuredly not enshrine such a ban in state law, which is ironic since the stated purpose of the abortion bill is to enshrine federal abortion policy into state law.
Let us be clear: Abortion expansion in New York is not about partial-birth abortion. Partial-birth abortion, or D&X, is one method of abortion used in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, in which a baby is partially delivered before being killed via a surgical scissors to the base of the skull. It is currently banned under federal law. An amendment to the governor’s bill saying that the federal ban would not be affected is legally redundant and pointless, and would not affect the most common and prevailing method of late-term abortion, known as D&E, which is equally brutal and inhumane. In that method, a baby is killed and dismembered while still in her mother’s womb, before being vacuumed out.
The Catholic Bishops and the pro-life community object in the strongest terms to any expansion of late-term abortion, regardless of the procedure used. It cannot be said enough that New York is the abortion capital of the country, with one in three pregnancies ending in abortion. We do not need more abortion here.
Date posted: June 4, 2013
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Following is a statement of Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the Bishops of New York State:
We are profoundly distressed by the introduction of a bill in New York State today that would ease restrictions in state law on late-term abortion and runs the serious risk of broadly expanding abortion access at all stages of gestation. This legislation would add a broad and undefined “health” exception for late-term abortion and would repeal the portion of the penal law that governs abortion policy, opening the door for non-doctors to perform abortions and potentially decriminalizing even forced or coerced abortions. In addition, we find the conscience protection in the bill to be vague and insufficient, and we are concerned about the religious liberty of our health facilities. While the bill’s proponents say it will simply “codify” federal law, it is selective in its codification. Nowhere does it address the portions of federal laws that limit abortion, such as the ban on taxpayer funding, the ban on partial birth abortion or protections for unborn victims of violence.
As the pastors of more than 7.2 million Catholic New Yorkers, we fully oppose this measure, and urge all our faithful people to do the same, vigorously and unapologetically. We invite all women and men of good will to join in this effort and defeat this serious attempt to expand abortion availability in our state and to codify the most radical abortion proposals of any state in the nation.
We support the first nine points in the Governor’s agenda that enhance the true dignity of women. We commit ourselves to examining those proposals and working with the legislature on any and all efforts that help guarantee real equity for all women and men. Our position on these issues will be consistent with all the efforts of the Catholic Church throughout the world to enhance the dignity of women. The direct taking of the life of a child in the womb in no way enhances a woman’s dignity.
Instead of expanding abortion and making abortions even more prevalent, we would like to protect both the woman and the child in the womb. In New York, where one in every three pregnancies ends in abortion (and upwards of 6 in 10 in certain communities), it is clear that we as a state have lost sight of that child’s dignity. We pledge all our efforts to defeat this proposal. We call on all pro-life New Yorkers to stand together with us and with all the leadership in Albany who share our conviction that we have no need for such a bill to become law. We need instead to enhance and promote the life and dignity of all human beings from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.
Five months after initially proposing it, and with less than three weeks left in the legislative session, Gov. Cuomo today will finally make public his abortion agenda.
Statements from the administration indicate the bill would significantly ease restrictions in state law on late-term (third-trimester) abortion, a policy completely out of step with the attitudes of most New Yorkers.
The Catholic Conference will offer a full analysis of this proposal shortly, but in the meantime, we put forward five questions New Yorkers need answered before any abortion legislation moves forward:
- Why is the abortion rate in New York State so much higher than the rest of the country?
- If the aim of the legislation truly is to codify federal law with regard to abortion, will there be a statewide version of the Hyde Amendment prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion, a statewide ban on partial birth abortion or legal protection of unborn victims of violence, all of which exist in federal law? Or is the Governor being selective by only codifying the areas of federal law that would expand abortion?
- Why would abortion after 24 weeks ever be necessary to protect a woman’s health, when delivery or caesarian section are medically safer procedures at that stage?
- How do we know abortion is safe in New York when the state Health Department has offered no records of clinic inspections?
- What is our government doing to ensure that New York doesn’t have its own version of Philadelphia abortion butcher Kermit Gosnell practicing his trade here?
New Yorkers overwhelmingly believe there is sufficient access to abortion in the Empire State. And they overwhelmingly reject late-term abortion on demand, as this bill would allow. Elected officials should focus less on abortion expansion, and more on decreasing the alarming abortion rate and ensuring safety for women and children.
The Catholic Conference represents New York State’s Bishops in matters of public policy.
Date posted: March 25, 2013
The state budget agreement reached by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders increases funding for Catholic and other religious and independent schools by $13.5 million over the governor’s proposed budget released in January. The funds include an additional $9 million in reimbursements for the Comprehensive Attendance Policy (CAP) program, as well as $4.5 million in a new funding stream for school safety grants in reaction to the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., as well as other school shootings around the country.
The restoration comes after a strong lobbying effort by the New York State Catholic Conference and a coalition of independent and religious schools, as well as in response to nearly 14,000 email message sent by members of the Catholic Action Network.
Date posted: March 13, 2013
The staff of the New York State Catholic Conference rejoices with the Church Universal in the election of Pope Francis. In these extraordinary and challenging times for the Church, we pledge our loyalty and fidelity to the Holy Father as he begins his pontificate.
The election of the new pope from Argentina is a moment of profound joy not only for South America, but for all the Americas. His election serves as a wonderful moment of unity for the nations of the New World. We ask Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, to pray for the new pope and for the Church at this historic moment.
We are grateful to Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York, and all of the cardinal-electors for their inspired choice, and we anxiously look forward to the pontificate of the Pope of the Americas. The Catholic Conference represents New York State’s Bishops in matters of public policy.
Date posted: February 26, 2013
Yesterday, Mylan Denerstein, counsel to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, issued yet another essay defending the governor’s abortion expansion bill and accusing the opposition of being “outrageous and disingenuous.” In fact, the Catholic Bishops and other opponents have been very clear and honest in expressing opposition. And, yet again, she makes statements defending the substance of a bill that they have declined to make public.
While much of the essay repeats her previous assertions, she does add one new line of argument, insisting that the governor’s plan to allow non-physicians to perform abortions would not change existing law. She states, “New York State law and regulations currently allow non-physician medical professionals (e.g. physician assistants) to perform the procedure in certain circumstances. Again, there is no change to that whatsoever.”
In fact, New York State law specifically says that only a “duly licensed physician” may perform an abortion. The bill known as the Reproductive Health Act (S.438) specifically repeals that language and replaces it with “licensed health care practitioner,” a category much broader than physician. Further, there are no regulations of which we are aware that would or could override that very clear language in the state’s Penal Law.
Is Ms. Denerstein being intentionally misleading or is she actually aware of physician assistants performing surgical induced abortions despite the clear prohibition in the Penal Law?
We invite her to clarify her remarks, and we respectfully ask her to reveal where these abortions by physician assistants are being performed in New York State and explain to health care consumers exactly how this could possibly be legal under existing state law.
It is becoming clear that the governor will eventually release a bill that contains changes to bills previously introduced. It is also clear, given the intentionally confusing language of Ms. Denerstein’s statements, that the ultimate bill will be intended to be as misleading as her statements have been. We will not be caught off guard and we do not believe the members of the Legislature, which has not accepted the previous versions of this bill, will be either.
The Catholic Conference represents New York State’s Bishops in matters of public policy.
Date posted: February 13, 2013
As pro-abortion advocates continue to push for the so-called “Reproductive Health Act,” a new statewide poll reveals that voters overwhelmingly oppose expanding the state’s abortion laws and, indeed, favor greater restrictions on abortion than what is already in law.
While a majority of respondents (55 percent) described themselves as “pro-choice,” two out of three (66 percent) said there is sufficient access to abortion in the state. When informed of the actual number of recorded abortions each year (111,000), the number of people who agreed there is sufficient access to abortion rose to 79 percent, with only 7 percent of respondents disagreeing that there is sufficient access to abortion in the state.
The survey, conducted January 27 through January 31, 2013, by McLaughlin and Associates, found that only 17 percent of likely voters approve of unlimited abortion on demand through the ninth month of pregnancy, which would be permissible under the “Reproductive Health Act.” Conversely 80 percent of voters disapprove of such a policy, 61percent of them strongly. More
Date posted: February 11, 2013
Following is a statement by Catholic Conference Executive Director Richard E. Barnes:
“Today’s announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that he is stepping down on February 28 brings feelings of sadness, but also of profound gratitude and respect for a man whose legacy will be as great as he was gentle. Having taken office at the age of 78, and following Blessed Pope John Paul II, many pundits expected him to be simply a ‘caretaker’ pope. Instead, he became a historic figure in his own right through his theological writings; his compassion for suffering people, particularly victims of clergy sexual abuse; his commitment to interfaith dialogue; his embrace of social media; and his tireless continuation of the New Evangelization.
“His recognition of his own limitations is a beautiful example of selflessness and sacrifice on behalf of the Church. We at the New York State Catholic Conference send our prayers for his health, peace and serenity as he embarks on the final chapter of his remarkable life.”
Date posted: January 23, 2013
Pictured, from left, are Richard E. Barnes, executive director, NYS Catholic Conference; Joseph Slavik, CEO, Catholic Charities, Syracuse; Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany; Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, CEO, Catholic Charities, New York; Laura Cassell, CEO, Catholic Charities, Rockville Centre; Robert Siebel, CEO, Catholic Charities, Brooklyn; Dennis Walczyk, CEO, Catholic Charities, Buffalo; Vincent Colanno, CEO, Catholic Charities, Albany; Jack Balinsky, CEO, Catholic Charities, Rochester. Absent, Sister Donna Franklin, DC, CEO, Catholic Charities, Ogdensburg
Albany, N.Y. – Thirteen months after upstate New York was devastated by Hurricane Irene, upstate Catholics and non-Catholics alike came together to support those downstate affected by Superstorm Sandy. Through special collections, fundraisers, school events, and generous individual contributions, the total amount raised by the Catholic Church and its ministries in the five upstate dioceses was $1,364,822.
A large symbolic check representing that total was presented to Catholic Charities representatives in the three downstate dioceses hardest hit by Sandy. Those three highly populated downstate dioceses, the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, and the Diocese of Rockville Centre, also collected another $5.5 million to aid the victims of Sandy within their own communities. In total, the Church in New York raised nearly $7 million for direct aid. More
Date posted: January 11, 2013
Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference, issued the following statement today in response to the promotion of a radical abortion bill by Governor Andrew Cuomo:
“Governor Andrew Cuomo’s re-packaging of an extreme abortion bill into a so-called ‘women’s agenda’ is a desperate attempt to push through an abortion expansion that’s been around for six years and has failed to gain traction as a stand-alone bill. Make no mistake, this bill, first championed by Eliot Spitzer, is radical and far out of the mainstream, even by the standards of New York, a state with an abortion rate twice the national average. It will permit more late-term abortions, allow non-doctors to perform abortions, and will preclude any reasonable restrictions on abortion like parental notification. Moreover it would permit the state to pull the operating certificate of Catholic hospitals and agencies that ‘discriminate’ by not performing or referring women for abortions.
“The extreme nature of the bill has seriously limited its support in the Legislature. So now the governor is attempting to tie it to important initiatives such as helping victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, and ending pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. He believes the ‘all-in’ strategy will make it harder to oppose. The public and lawmakers should not be fooled. We must not let victims of abuse and discrimination be held hostage to Governor Cuomo’s ideologically driven political agenda, an agenda that is extremely harmful to mothers, infants and religious liberty.
“An abortion expansion in New York State will not foster women’s health or women’s dignity. New Yorkers want their leaders to take action to decrease the state’s abortion rate and reduce the tragedy for women and families. We would like to work with them to do just that.”
The Catholic Conference represents Timothy Cardinal Dolan and New York State’s Bishops in matters of public policy.