View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New York's FOCA

While there is a lot of national attention being focused on the Freedom of Choice Act - the extreme pro-abortion measure that President Obama vowed to sign but which does not appear likely to be passed this year - New York has it's own radical pro-abortion bill to contend with.

In April 2007, New York's now disgraced Governor Eliot Spitzer submitted the “Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act.”

This bill would establish a “fundamental right to privacy” in New York statute to guarantee that abortion is protected and available. Spitzer said it would “ensure that New York’s women have the same or stronger reproductive rights as those currently afforded under Roe (v Wade).”

In other words, it would essentially codify Roe in New York.

What would this law mean? The New York State Catholic Conference points out that the law would:

Seek to ensure that abortions are legal throughout all nine months of pregnancy if they are deemed necessary to protect the life or “health” of the mother. Courts have interpreted the term "health" so broadly as to include social, economic and emotional distress factors, rendering the term meaningless. Current state law says abortions are legal in New York through 24 weeks of pregnancy, but outlawed after that unless they are necessary to save a woman’s life. Because of Roe v. Wade, this law cannot be enforced, so abortion is already legal in New York through the third trimester of pregnancy for reasons of life or “health.”

This bill would allow post-viability abortions to be performed on an out-patient basis in clinics that go virtually unregulated by public health authorities, endangering both women and unborn children. And it would not allow for the type of support facilities necessary to assist a baby who might be born alive in the course of an abortion.

This bill could be used to eliminate conscience protection in current law by requiring every institution licensed or funded by the state – including religious hospitals, agencies and schools – to support abortion, provide coverage for abortion, or to allow abortions to be performed.

The bill seeks to make abortion virtually immune from any state regulation or restriction. That includes such reasonable regulations as parental notification, informed consent, and restrictions on taxpayer funding.

The bill would repeal the requirement in current law that says only doctors can perform abortions. Under the bill, a dentist, a nurse, a podiatrist, a social worker, a physician assistant, a chiropractor, a midwife, even an optometrist could perform abortions.

The bill would undermine efforts to pass an “Unborn Victims of Violence Act” by refusing to recognize the unborn child as a second victim of the crime in cases of assault against pregnant women. The child would be regarded as just an appendage of his mother’s body.

The legislature is now under Democratic control, and Governor Paterson is strongly pro-choice, so this bill could surface again this year.

New Yorkers need to contact the Governor and their legislators to say this bill must not become law.

The abortion fight continues on so many levels!


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