NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York has passed a new law that supporters say reaffirms women’s reproductive rights.
Critics say the law goes too far.
The Reproductive Rights Act was just signed into law last week, but it has already triggered a firestorm.
“That it can be done right up to the moment of birth, this is hideous,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
“We believe a woman has the right to control her own reproductive health,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The bill moves abortion from the state’s criminal code into public health law, and legalizes it after 24 weeks if a woman’s health is at risk or if a fetus is not viable.
State law previously only allowed abortions after 24 weeks if the woman’s life was in jeopardy.
“Pregnancies that are carried beyond the six-month point are clearly wanted pregnancy. If something goes seriously wrong, women should not have to risk their health or their life to travel out of state in order to receive an abortion,” said Assemblywoman Deborah Glick.
The law also expands who can perform procedures from beyond physicians to physicians’ assistants. Nurse practitioners and midwives can do non-surgical procedures, if they are acting in the scope of their practice. But critics say the law is just designed to expand abortion.
“When you use the term ‘health of the woman,’ that’s very elastic. That has been defined as mental health, she’s depressed she doesn’t feel good that day. We know what’s going on here. This is abortion through term,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.
Donohue says abortion is not a Catholic issue.
“This is biology. It has nothing to do with religion, lots of atheists that I know are in favor of the life of the child being protected from the time of that is conception,” Donohue said.
“I appreciate and respect the concerns of rights of religious people not to have an abortion, but they do not have the right, in a democracy, to impose their religious tenets on the rest of us,” Glick said.
Cardinal Dolan said he won’t excommunicate Cuomo over his stance on abortion, because it would be counterproductive, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported.