As many New Yorkers are already aware, the abortion expansion bill misleadingly known as the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) became law on January 22, 2019. The RHA:
- Removed abortion-related crimes from the books in cases where pregnant women miscarry after being assaulted;
- Allows third-trimester abortions for any reason (removing ambiguity that was present in existing law);
- Allows abortions to be performed by medical personnel other than physicians; and
- Made it legal for viable babies born alive following late-term abortions to be denied medical care.
The Senate floor debate on this tragic and brutal piece of legislation revealed great confusion in the minds of the senators who supported it.
Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) spoke of the losses women suffered before birth control and abortion became available, noting that one of her ancestors endured several miscarriages. The Senator did not appear to grasp the contradiction between her remarks and the bill she was supporting. If a miscarriage counts as a loss, isn’t an abortion a loss, too?
As many abortion advocates typically do, Sen. Peter Harckham (D-Katonah) asserted that women should be allowed to make choices about their own bodies. This proposition is not in dispute. The Senator, however, completely sidestepped the reality that abortion affects two bodies—not just one.
Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Queens) mentioned the grisly history of back-alley abortions. If the Senator is concerned about women being injured by abortion procedures, why did she vote for a bill that lets non-physicians perform them?
Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) reminded opponents of the RHA that we are free to move to other jurisdictions with less permissive abortion laws. The Senator’s words were reminiscent of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s infamous assertion that persons who disagree with his views on abortion, homosexuality, and gun control have “no place in the State of New York.”
Perhaps most ominously, Deputy Senate Minority Leader Mike Gianaris (D-Queens) told persons concerned about the rushed Senate passage of the RHA and other so-called progressive legislation this year to “get used to it.”