ALBANY, NY, February 15, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The state of New York could soon shut down Catholic and other health care providers for not offering or referring for abortions, according to the New York Catholic Conference. The group has been monitoring Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s abortion expansion bill with concern.

Among other actions, the act would declare that New York “shall not discriminate against the exercise of [abortion] rights in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services or information.”

According to the Conference, this “no discrimination of abortion rights” provision could “permit state regulators to require support for abortion from any agency or institution licensed or funded by the state.”

Since the state grants medical licenses, New York could deny licenses to — and ultimately shut down —institutions like Catholic or other hospitals and clinics that refuse to support abortion.

New York could also deny these institutions Medicaid payments and other funding, which many depend on for financial solvency.

The bill would also lift restrictions on third-trimester abortions, allow non-doctors to perform abortions, and prohibit any restrictions like parental notification.

Conference spokeswoman Kathleen Gallagher told LifeSiteNews.com that she believed Governor Cuomo’s bill was out of step with the majority of New Yorkers. She said her group has successfully rebranded the measure as the “abortion expansion bill” and that it’s rapidly losing support. “When you talk to most New Yorkers,” Gallagher said, “they think abortion is accessible enough already.”

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Her group worked with Ciaroscuro Foundation to poll New York voters about their views on abortion. Their study found that an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers support sensible restrictions on abortions:

  • 79 percent believe there is already sufficient access to abortion in New York State;

  • 75 percent oppose changing the law so that someone other than a doctor can perform surgical abortions;

  • 89 percent oppose abortions for reducing twins or triplets to a single child;

  • 92 percent oppose late-term abortions for sex selection;

  • 87 percent favor providing pregnant mothers information about options before they make a decision;

  • 78 percent approve of a 24-hour waiting period;

  • 76 percent approve of parental notification when a minor seeks an abortion;

  • 68 percent approve of providing free medical care to mothers carrying their pregnancy to term; and

  • 86 percent favor regulating abortion clinics as strictly as other medical facilities.

“This survey tells us that women want and deserve more choices, not more abortion,” added Meg McDonnell, a spokeswoman for the Chiaroscuro Foundation. “New York's elected officials should take a close look at this data and work on making abortions rarer, not more commonplace and more dangerous.”

“Governor Cuomo's proposed changes in New York's abortion laws are clearly out of the political mainstream," said Chiaroscuro Foundation president Greg Pfundstein. "Some of them, like allowing non-physicians to perform abortions, seem bound to make New York less safe for women.”

“It is imperative for Governor Cuomo to listen to what pro-choice and pro-life New Yorkers actually think before he acts in haste on this radical legislative proposal,” he said.