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Statement on the Extreme Abortion Bill Failing in the US Senate

Below is a statement from Kristen Curran, director of government relations, on the failure of a radical abortion expansion bill in the US Senate.

Yesterday, the Women’s Health Protection Act failed to advance in the Senate. The measure would have effectively undone pro-life safeguards throughout the country, and legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy nationwide. The New York State Catholic Conference is pleased that the Senate Republicans, joined by Senator Manchin of West Virginia, opposed the bill. We are deeply grateful to those across New York that did the work of contacting legislators to voice their opposition.

The Women’s Health Protection Act serves as a reminder to pro-life citizens everywhere that we must remain ever vigilant. As abortion advocates continually seek ways to expand abortion further and further, we must hold our leaders to account and ensure that dangerous proposals such as this cannot succeed.

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters.

Letter from Bishops of NYS to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand re: Radical Federal Abortion Bill


Following is the text of a letter sent from the Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the Diocesan Bishops of New York State to U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand regarding the so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act.” To view a PDF of the original letters, click HERE.

September 29, 2021

Dear Senator,

As the Bishops of the eight Catholic dioceses of the State of New York, we write to express our unified and staunch opposition to S1975/HR3755, the “Women’s Health Protection Act,” a piece of legislation that would impose upon the entire nation a policy of unrestricted abortion on demand, for any reason, at any point in pregnancy, going well beyond the parameters of Roe v. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions.

We are under no illusions. We know that on the matter of abortion policy, our views are radically disparate from yours. Nevertheless, we believe we have an obligation to speak out as a voice for the unborn, as well as for pregnant mothers who deserve so much more than this bill offers them. This legislation sends a message to women that abortion is their only option and their best hope, that it is something to be promoted and celebrated.

The truth is that abortion is something to be mourned, and it is often the most agonizing decision a woman will ever make. We believe our government should be offering pregnant women all of their options and the support services they need to empower them to choose to carry their babies to term, raise their families with dignity, or offer their child to a home which can appropriately and lovingly care for that child. Our public policies should reflect these priorities.

Here in New York State, our state legislature enacted the “Reproductive Health Act” in 2019, enshrining in state statute a policy of unlimited abortion on demand throughout nine months of pregnancy. We expressed our profound opposition at the time, and we continue to grieve for the mothers and infants harmed by this law.

But a majority of states in this great country have enacted laws to the contrary: policies to allow parents to be notified when their minor daughter is considering abortion; to provide informed consent to pregnant women; to prohibit state taxpayer funding of abortion; to require health and safety regulations in clinics; to require licensure and certification of abortion providers. All of these policies are allowable under Roe and subsequent cases. Yet all such policies would be invalidated in one fell swoop by Congressional passage of S1975. This authoritarian federal overreach undermines the will of the people through their elected state representatives, and does not bode well for our democracy.

Moreover, S1975 may very well nullify New York’s strong Civil Rights Law protection for health care professionals who do not wish to be involved in abortion, a law which so many rely upon to exercise their moral values and religious freedom. Is this how we want to repay our heroic health care workers who have served so valiantly throughout the ongoing pandemic?

In closing, we strongly urge you to reject this legislation and work to protect and strengthen the fundamental human rights of mothers and children.

Very Truly Yours,

Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York

Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger
Bishop of Albany

Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio
Bishop of Brooklyn

Most Rev. Michael W. Fisher
Bishop of Buffalo

Most Rev. Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg

Most Rev. Salvatore R. Matano
Bishop of Rochester

Most Rev. John O. Barres
Bishop of Rockville Centre

Most Rev. Douglas J. Lucia
Bishop of Syracuse

Reproductive Freedom and Equity Grant Program

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: S348-C Cleare / A361-B Gonzalez-Rojas
Enacts the reproductive freedom and equity grant program

The above-referenced legislation would establish a grant program to provide funding to New York abortion providers and non-profit organizations to increase access to abortion. The New York State Catholic Conference strongly opposes this bill.


Collection and Publication of Policy-Based Exclusions

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: S1003-A Hinchey / A733-A Rozic
Relates to providing information to patients and the public on policy-based exclusions

The above referenced bill would require the commissioner of health to collect from each healthcare facility a list of its policy-based exclusions and publish such information on the department’s website. The New York State Catholic Conference is opposed to this legislation.


Prohibited Hospital Interference with Patient Care

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: A5297 Paulin / S6616 May
Relates to prohibited hospital interference with patient care

The above-referenced legislation would purportedly prohibit hospital interference with patient care where the practitioner is acting in good faith and within their scope of practice. The bill is a clear violation of the rights of Catholic hospitals, and yet another attempt to disrupt the exceptional services that they provide.


Reproductive Health Services Training Grant Program

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: A3279-A Epstein
Establishes a reproductive health services training grant program

The above-referenced legislation would establish a reproductive health services training and education grant program to train providers, interns, and residents in the performance of abortion, and establish an abortion training and education fund. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this tiresome, pandering bill for the stunt that it is.


Health Equity Impact Assessments

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: A3113-A Clark / S3609-B Webb
Enhances the scope of health equity impact assessments to require consideration of reproductive health services and maternal health care

The above referenced legislation would require consideration of reproductive health services as part of health equity impact assessments. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this bill, which is another attempt to malign Catholic Hospitals.


Equality Amendment

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: A1283 Seawright/ S108-A Krueger
Equality Amendment

The above-referenced legislation would amend New York State’s Constitution to ban unjust discrimination against persons based on a broad variety of classes and characteristics. This version of the bill rightly applies the same level of protection to religion as it does to the expanded list of classes. While we strongly agree with the goal of protecting all human beings from unjust discrimination, we oppose this legislation as it seeks to enshrine the right to abortion in the New York State Constitution.


2019 End-of-Session Round-Up

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany watches the Assembly debate on the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act from the chamber’s gallery June 19, 2019.
(Franchesca Caputo/The Evangelist)

The New York State Legislature wrapped up the 2019 session in the early morning hours of June 21. The session was among the most active in memory, as the new Democratic majority in the state Senate, joined with the Democratic Assembly majority and the Democratic Governor to take on many issues that had previously been staunchly opposed by Republicans. Below is a synopsis of major issues tracked by the Catholic Conference and their outcome.