Nervous that conservative states, in conjunction with a conservative Supreme Court, could undo some or all of Roe v. Wade, Democrats in the New York legislature are reportedly working on a bill that would protect the legality of abortion. Among the bill’s more extreme propositions: A clause redefining a person as a “human being who has been born and is alive” and declaring abortion to be a “fundamental right” for all New Yorkers. The Reproductive Health Act is said to be among the top priorities of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has threatened to veto the budget unless it reaches his desk intact.
The legislation goes beyond Roe v. Wade, allowing abortions even when the Supreme Court has said states may regulate them, according to pro-life leaders. Late-term abortions, which currently are illegal in New York, would be allowed, and non doctors would be allowed to perform them.
The bill appears to restrict late-term abortions, but it adds a broad “health” exception for abortions after 24 weeks. The exception would allow women to abort unborn babies up to nine months of pregnancy for “age, economic, social and emotional factors, rather than the biological definition of ‘health’ that normally comes to mind,” according to New York RTL.
The legislation poses serious dangers to women’s lives and rights as well. By removing protections from illegal abortions, the bill would open the door for abuses. According to New York RTL, back alley abortionists, abusive partners or parents and others no longer would face charges for illegally killing an unborn baby – even if the mother wanted her child.
New York state is already home to more abortions per year than any other state in America, which makes it both ironic and predictable that Democrats would work overtime to make sure they are unaffected by any forthcoming changes in federal law. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, state legislatures will be more empowered to make changed to their local abortion laws, up to and possibly including complete bans on the procedure. New York is attempting to get out in front of any such potential by solidifying their status as a “sanctuary state” for abortion-seeking women (to say nothing of clinical organizations like Planned Parenthood.
In its current form, the bill laments that New York’s existing laws have “proved burdensome to women seeking to assert their constitutionally protected right to an abortion.”
The bill does not point out where this right can be found in the Constitution.