By Skylar Letteer
On Tuesday the 22nd, New York approved legislation expanding women’s access to abortions within the state. The “Reproductive Health Act” signed by New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo, passed in the state senate by a 38-24 vote and a state assembly by a 92-47 vote. This bill was first introduced in 2006, but was blocked for consideration. With the Democratic party regaining the majority in the recent elections, the bill passed legislation Tuesday night and was signed into law. This bill allows women to get an abortion after the 24 week restriction if their life or health is threatened, or if a fetus is not viable. The bill also regulates abortion under public health code rather than criminal code. Midwives and nurse practitioners would be allowed to perform the medical procedure, ending criminal charges for harming children in the womb. This act has received both negative and positive responses since the bill was announced.
The new law safeguards rights laid-out by the Roe v. Wade court case, which includes a provision permitting late-term (meaning up to and including the due date) abortions when a woman's health is endangered. With the law addressing late-term abortions, reactions have been split down the middle. The governor ordered The Freedom Tower illuminated in pink light in celebration of the bill’s passing. Cuomo refereed to the bill’s passing as, “a historic victory for New Yorkers and for our progressive values.” Cuomo also hopes other states will follow in New York’s lead with similar legislation. Others have not been thrilled about what the bill is allowing, with New York already having one of the highest abortion rates in the country. Cuomo’s faith has also been questioned by Catholic bishops and New Yorkers alike.
I will be writing an editorial concerning this issue next week, but here’s something to ponder until then: If we found bacteria on another planet those within the world of science would refer to it as “life” right? Hmmmm...