A day after the New York state Legislature passed a bill Tuesday that made it legal for abortionists and other health care professionals to perform abortions up to birth for any reason, conservative anti-abortion advocates have ramped up criticism of the measure as liberals defend it.
"They have no idea the damage this will cause," Jim Harden, president of CompassCare Pregnancy Services told WHAM about the controversial "Reproductive Health Act."
Harden's organization works with pregnant women considering abortion and encourages them to having their baby by providing them with baseline medical services. It was not immediately clear how the newly passed RHA will directly affect his work.
For 12 years the RHA had been blocked from passing the Legislature until this week when a Democrat majority in the New York Senate passed it with a 38-28 vote much to the chagrin of those who oppose it. The RHA codifies federal abortion rights guaranteed under the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision and removes abortion from the state's criminal code.
Some critics of the law that it's a much more sinister attack on the unborn and have started a White House petition calling for RHA's repeal.
"At this point, those who align themselves with the Democrat Party advocate for the murder of children, right up to the very moment before they take their first breath. It's an abomination," the petition's creator wrote at the launch of the campaign Wednesday.
Section 2 of New York's controversial Reproductive Health Act, signed into law by Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo, states that "an abortion May be performed by a licensed, certified, or authorized practitioner within 24 weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient's life or health."
While there have been many on the left who have argued that the RHA does not allow for aborting pregnancies up to the point of birth for any reason, Lila Rose, president and founder of the national pro-life organization Live Action, argued in a statement Wednesday that the scope of language used in the law opens it up to abortion for any reason.
"Last night, New York passed a law allowing abortions during all nine months of pregnancy, right up until moments before birth. The 'Reproductive Health Act,' signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, permits abortions at any point during pregnancy if the abortionist deems it necessary for the mother's 'life or health.' As determined by the U.S. Supreme Court, health not only includes physical health, but encompasses 'emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age' considerations, effectively allowing abortion for virtually any reason," Rose said.
"Convicted criminals aren't subjected to the death penalty in New York state, but now children up until the ninth month of pregnancy can be given lethal injections and poisoned to death. This is no different than infanticide," she added.
Liberty Counsel, an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, agreed with Rose's interpretation of the RHA.
"Governor Andrew Cuomo immediately signed the 'Reproductive Health Act' and then celebrated by lighting the One World Trade Center's 408-foot spire, the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge, and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany in pink. Ironically, the One World Trade Center was built as a monument to the 3,000 people who died on 9/11. Sitting with Cuomo as he signed the bill was Sarah Ragle Weddington, the lawyer who represented Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade," a statement from the nonprofit noted.
"I am sickened by the scene of adults celebrating the killing of helpless children," Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, added. "A child can be tortured and killed seconds before it is born. Instead of lighting up New York with pink, it should have been red for the shedding of innocent blood. I pray that this death agenda will stop soon. Each human life is sacred. The right to life is the right of all rights, and that inalienable right includes the unborn."