NEW YORK, February 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proclaimed his Catholic identity while denouncing President Donald Trump’s proposals to limit late-term abortion and defending the Empire State’s new abortion-until-birth law this week.
Recalling that he once served as an altar boy, pro-abortion Cuomo, a Democrat, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that as a Roman Catholic, “I am intimately familiar with the strongly held views of the church. Still, I do not believe that religious values should drive political positions.”
In his State of the Union message, Trump referred to a radical abortion bill that Cuomo signed in January: “There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth.”
According to Cuomo, Trump was making a ploy to gain favor with the “religious right” and “inflame” his base.
Arguing that the United States is based on “pluralism,” Cuomo wrote, “Roman Catholic values are my personal values. The decisions I choose to make in my life, or in counseling my daughters, are based on my personal moral and religious beliefs.”
However, “my religion cannot demand favoritism as I execute my public duties,” he claimed, ignoring the fact that many people are opposed to abortion not because of religion but because it ends the life of a whole, distinct, living human being.
Cuomo has, however, cited his alleged religious identity in the past to justify other political positions. In 2018, he said that Pope Francis was promoting a “more righteous world” by changing the Catechism of the Catholic Church to label the death penalty “inadmissible.”
“Today, in solidarity with Pope Francis and in honor of my father [former Gov. Mario Cuomo], I will be advancing legislation to remove the death penalty – and its ugly stain in our history – from State law once and for all,” Cuomo said in August.
Cuomo said in his New York Times op-ed, “While Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and the Catholic Church are anti-choice, most Americans, including most Catholics, are pro-choice,” including “59 percent of Catholics.”
Recent polling suggests that Americans do want restrictions on abortion. According to a Marist poll, 75 percent of Americans – including 60 percent of self-identified Democrats and 61 percent of those who favor abortion – want abortion restricted to the first trimester of pregnancy at most.
Nebulous ‘health’ of the mother excuse used to justify late-term abortion
Cuomo used his New York Times op-ed to claim that the law he signed, the Reproductive Health Act, “does not allow abortions minutes before birth, nor does it allow third-trimester abortions ‘for any reason.’”
“The Reproductive Health Act guarantees a woman's right to abortion in the first 24 weeks of a pregnancy or when the fetus is not viable, and permits it afterward only when a woman's life or health is threatened or at risk…The option is available for exactly the reason stated in Roe and successor cases: to protect the life or health of the woman,” he wrote.
Cuomo neglected to mention that thanks to Roe’s sister case Doe v. Bolton, “health” can be interpreted to mean almost any reason. Cuomo admitted, though, that his state’s new law was “merely codify existing federal law and firmly established practices,” something pro-life observers will note is true. Late-term abortion is already legal and widely available across the U.S., although some states restrict some abortions after 20 weeks (five months into pregnancy).
Cuomo also confirmed in his piece that the pro-abortion left is panicking about the current makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court. He said he signed the pro-abortion law to “protect against the Republicans’ efforts to pack the Supreme Court with extreme conservatives to overturn the constitutional protections recognized in Roe v. Wade.”
The presence of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh on the court means that “the question is not if Roe will be overturned, but when.”
Cardinal Dolan responds
In the wake of Cuomo’s signing of the Reproductive Health Act, Cardinal Dolan said in a television interview that he received “wheelbarrows” full of letters demanding Cuomo’s excommunication, something he has indicated he will not do.
Dolan responded to Cuomo’s linking him with the “religious right” by retorting that the governor had not considered him part of the religious right when seeking help to pass the “minimum wage increase, prison reform, protection of migrant workers, a welcome of immigrants and refugees,” and other progressive issues. The cardinal said, “we were happy to partner with him on” those issues, “because they were our causes too. I guess I was part of the ‘religious left’ in those cases.”