Are there such people as pro-life Democrats? We had a few in Congress a few years back, as I recall, but then they voted for the ObamaCare bill without language that permanently protected taxpayers from funding abortions. Nevertheless, there still seem to be a significant number of Democratic voters who remain pro-life, even if there doesn’t seem to be many Democratic politicians. One group in New York, Democrats for Life of America, is outraged over a new abortion-expansion proposal from Governor Andrew Cuomo in what is already arguably the abortion capital of the nation, which would eliminate parental notification requirements and allow non-doctors to perform abortions:
By promoting one of the most expansive abortion bills in American history, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has opened a civil war on two fronts: with his church and with elements of his own party.
Cuomo is pushing for a massive expansion of access to abortion in the state, including lifting restrictions on third-trimester abortions, allowing non-doctors to perform the procedure, and enshrining a fundamental right to “terminate a pregnancy” in New York state law.
Democrats for Life of America deemed the proposed bill “the most sweeping abortion legislation in the nation.”
The Democratic governor introduced the bill to cheers during his January 9 State of the State address, shrouding it in the name of “women’s equality.”
“The abortion language would allow late-term abortions, allow non-doctors to perform abortions, and supersede any reasonable restrictions such as parental notification,” the group stated.
“It is out of touch with the views of most Americans, out of touch with the views of most Democrats, and could hamper real reform for women’s rights,” the Democratic group concluded.
Democrats for Life offer a few points for Cuomo to consider when making such proposals:
First, there are 21 million Democrats who self-identify as pro-life and otherwise much diversity within our Party on this issue of abortion.
That diversity of opinion is as follows:
- 61% of Democrats support parental consent for minors seeking abortion (Gallup, 2011);
- 60% of Democrats support a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortion (Gallup, 2011);
- 84% of Democrats support informed consent (Gallup, 2011);
- 49% of Democrats support an ultrasound requirement (Gallup, 2011);
- 59% of Democrats support a ban on partial-birth abortions (Gallup, 2011).
We didn’t hear much from this majority during the “Julia” debate, though. Instead, we are hearing from the traditional opponents of abortion — the Catholic Church, and Republicans. My good friend Deacon Greg Kandra delivered a powerful homily yesterday on the subject of the proposed law, reminding his congregation of some very uncomfortable facts about abortion in America and in New York specifically:
1.2 million abortions a year – roughly double the number of 40 years ago.
The total number of abortions since 1973: 54, 559,000—and climbing.
In New York City today, 40% of all pregnancies, nearly half, end in abortion.
Among minorities, it’s as high as 60%.
In some neighborhoods, it’s 67%.
And that’s just the beginning. To some, it seems, that’s not enough.
In Albany two weeks ago, the governor of this state proposed an abortion bill that threatens to make New York the bloodiest state in the union.
It would permit unlimited late term abortion on demand – right up to the ninth month.
It would allow people who are not doctors to perform abortions.
It would declare that the “state shall not discriminate” against the right to abortion, a declaration that could threaten the very existence of Catholic hospitals. Long Island alone is home to six hospitals that could be crippled by having Medicare funds withheld if they refuse to comply.
If enacted into law, this bill would declare that abortion is a fundamental right that cannot be denied. No parental notification for minors, no limits on taxpayer funding of abortion, no limits on late-term abortions.
The bishops of New York warn of the danger to religious liberty inherent in this proposal to make abortion a “fundamental right,” and blast Cuomo for his attempt to link the bill to efforts against human trafficking:
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s re-packaging of an extreme abortion bill into a so-called ‘women’s agenda’ is a desperate attempt to push through an abortion expansion that’s been around for six years and has failed to gain traction as a stand-alone bill. Make no mistake, this bill, first championed by Eliot Spitzer, is radical and far out of the mainstream, even by the standards of New York, a state with an abortion rate twice the national average. It will permit more late-term abortions, allow non-doctors to perform abortions, and will preclude any reasonable restrictions on abortion like parental notification. Moreover it would permit the state to pull the operating certificate of Catholic hospitals and agencies that ‘discriminate’ by not performing or referring women for abortions.
The extreme nature of the bill has seriously limited its support in the Legislature. So now the governor is attempting to tie it to important initiatives such as helping victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, and ending pregnancy discrimination in the workplace. He believes the ‘all-in’ strategy will make it harder to oppose. The public and lawmakers should not be fooled. We must not let victims of abuse and discrimination be held hostage to Governor Cuomo’s ideologically driven political agenda, an agenda that is extremely harmful to mothers, infants and religious liberty.
Looks like Cuomo has adopted Barack Obama’s cramped reading of the First Amendment to imply that it only applied to the four walls of a church.
This comes at an interesting moment. The Catholic Church started a nine-day campaign of prayer in connection to the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade to end abortion and to provide comfort to those victimized by it. The bishops are already organized for this fight. Meanwhile, one Catholic blogger over the weekend shared a very painful part of her life to express appreciation for the effort:
What happened next was sheer panic. I never wanted to have an abortion, I was just stupid and believed there was no other choice. No other way. And it was just a clot. A big menstrual clot. That’s what they told me. Yet that glass container told me otherwise. And I suddenly felt every urge to run from the room screaming, but I was frozen in place. When a staff member came back into the room she found me still standing there clutching that sheet and staring at the vacuum.
Something inside me clicked off and I mentally shut down. I allowed her to guide me to the table and the procedure was started. When the abortionist [I will never call them doctors] came into the room he didn’t even acknowledge me but when he wheeled that vacuum over toward the table and switched it on I sat upright and tried to jump off the table. No hell no, I thought. But it was too late.
And this is what I remembered this morning. My first waking thought that greeted me at dawn. The memory of the “nurse” growing impatient with me and the abortionists barking at me to lay still. And then my ears where filled with the wet suctioning sound of that hideous vacuum aspiration machine.
I had completely forgotten, until this morning, that when it was all over I made myself look at that thing again. As the staff member held my arm and steadied me out of the room I reached over and yanked the sheet off again. I made myself look at that blood filled glass canister. Somewhere in their was my child and he/she deserved to have me be haunted with the memory of what I had done and where I had left him/her. I remembered thinking to myself, “Don’t you ever forget what you’ve done. You don’t deserve to forget”.
But I did forget. Not right away. I was suicidal for months after, drinking and consuming every pill I could find. I took the entire contents of mine and my roommate’s medicine cabinet one night. All I did was sleep for two days straight and no one checked on me. I think it was during that time that I eventually managed to bury those memories.
For whatever reason they chose today to pop back up. But instead of feeling hopelessly lost in that old dark abyss something different overcame me. Not a peace. No. I don’t think that I will ever know true peace. It was a comforting feeling. Like a hundred people praying for me right at that exact moment. Then I checked my email and I realized that they were. Today marks the beginning of the 9 Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage sponsored by USCCB.
Be sure to read it all, and if you’re so inclined, join us. Heck, a bunch of us may even be Democrats, but we all want to change hearts to end abortion — and stop a culture of death from turning it into a secular sacrament.