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Governor’s counsel writes 2nd op-ed defending abortion bill

Posted By Jessica Bakeman On February 25, 2013 @ 10:27 am In Other | Comments Disabled

A Cuomo administration attorney drafted a second op-ed piece denying critics claims that the governor is advocating an “abortion expansion bill.”

[1]Mylan Denerstein, whose earlier op-ed can be found here [2], wrote Monday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bill would simply codify existing federal law, which would guarantee women’s abortion rights should the Supreme Court overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

Despite claims from conservatives and the Catholic church, she argues that the bill will not increase abortion access to abortion, allow “partial birth” abortions or punish religious institutions for not performing abortions.

“The anti-choice movement rejects the law of the land and that is their right. But while we respect moral, religious and ethical opposition to abortion, and an honest dialogue on the issue, the opposition is wrong to grossly mischaracterize the Governor’s position,” Denerstein wrote.

“Let me set the record straight,” she continued. “The Governor’s position is clear: he would simply realign state law to existing federal law and state practice because current state law is outdated. There is no editorial comment, no expansion, no radicalization and no interpretation.”

Cuomo said last Sunday [3] the bill he is drafting would be different than the existing Reproductive Health Act, which has been pushed by Democrats in recent years. He said “to the extent some people believe that (the Reproductive Health Act) goes further than the existing law—it would be different,” describing his proposal, which has not yet been made public.

In her op-ed, Denerstein continued: “Supporting and enforcing the law of the land is hardly a radical position, despite how opponents have tried to frame the Governor’s position—far from it.

“One could actually argue that the opposition to a woman’s right to choose—and rejection of the law of the land for more than forty years—is the radical position.”

Here’s the full piece:

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Critics have repeatedly said that Governor Cuomo is attempting an “expansion” or “radical extension” of a woman’s right to choose. The statements made by the opposition are outrageous and disingenuous. The Governor’s position is to purely codify existing federal law. To be clear, there would be no change whatsoever in law and practice now existing in the state of New York.

This is not a complicated issue. The issue of a woman’s right to choose is a binary issue—either you are pro-choice or anti-choice. Reproductive choice is the law of the land and the Governor supports the law of the land. The law allows women to make reproductive decisions on whether to continue a pregnancy under certain circumstances.

The anti-choice movement rejects the law of the land and that is their right. But while we respect moral, religious and ethical opposition to abortion, and an honest dialogue on the issue, the opposition is wrong to grossly mischaracterize the Governor’s position.

Let me set the record straight.

The Governor’s position is clear: he would simply realign state law to existing federal law and state practice because current state law is outdated. There is no editorial comment, no expansion, no radicalization and no interpretation.

For example, contrary to repeated false statements made by anti-choice opponents, the Governor would not allow “partial birth” abortion because a federal law bans partial birth abortion, except for the life of the mother.

There is and can be no change to that whatsoever.

Opponents have misleadingly argued that the Governor would create “abortion on demand” because of the inclusion of a “health exemption” of the mother. However a health exemption is already the law of the land.

Again there is and can be no change to that whatsoever.

In another often-said mischaracterization by anti-choice opponents, the Governor is not expanding in any way whatsoever who may perform the procedures. New York State law and regulations currently allow certain non-physician medical professionals (e.g. physician assistants) to perform the procedure in certain circumstances.

Again there is no change to that whatsoever.

Finally, contrary to anti-choice opponents, the Governor would not undermine religious freedom in any way. State law currently protects individuals who for religious and/or moral reasons object to providing constitutionally-guaranteed abortion services. For example, State law does not require that a hospital perform an abortion.

Again there is no change to that whatsoever.

The Governor would simply realign our outdated state laws to federal law and existing state practice. No matter how hard opponents try to skew and mischaracterize that position, it’s really that simple. And although simple, it’s important that it happens. The Supreme Court could always change and we want to protect a woman’s current right to choose.

Supporting and enforcing the law of the land is hardly a radical position, despite how opponents have tried to frame the Governor’s position—far from it. One could actually argue that the opposition to a woman’s right to choose—and rejection of the law of the land for more than forty years—is the radical position.


Article printed from Albany Watch: http://statepolitics.lohudblogs.com

URL to article: http://statepolitics.lohudblogs.com/2013/02/25/governors-counsel-writes-2nd-op-ed-defending-abortion-bill/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://blogs.democratandchronicle.com/voteup/2013/02/25/governors-counsel-writes-2nd-op-ed-defending-abortion-bill/denerstein_mylan/

[2] can be found here: http://statepolitics.lohudblogs.com/2013/01/30/cuomo-lawyer-codifying-abortion-rights-critically-important/

[3] Cuomo said last Sunday: http://statepolitics.lohudblogs.com/2013/02/18/pro-life-groups-want-andrew-cuomo-to-show-his-hand/