Dolan Pressures Albany Leaders On Reproductive Health Act
Cardinal Timothy Dolan was in Albany Monday to meet with Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders about a bill this session that would expand abortion rights for women in the state. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
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Currently, women can only legally get late-term abortions in New York if their life is considered to be in danger. A bill known as the Reproductive Health Act would expand that, allowing the procedure for a pregnant woman who is ill, even if her life isn't at risk.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan opposes the bill, saying abortions already happen far too frequently.
"We feel a high responsibility to speak up for the baby in the womb. And whenever we see the abortion strengthened, consolidated or expanded we get more and more worried," Dolan said.
The bill would also take abortion out of the penal code altogether and place it under the state health code. Supporters say it's not a new bill, but a timely one.
"If the members of the legislature vote their consciences and their voters' views this bill certainly will pass. It certainly comes at a critical time in light of the attacks we're seeing on reproductive health and basic care for women across the country," said Andrea Miller of NARAL Pro-Choice.
The cardinal doesn't appear to be taking anything for granted, which is why he says he's fighting for his church's priorities. Last year, the Catholic Conference was caught off guard when the legislature approved gay marriage. Afterward, the cardinal says, he was given assurances that the bill would never pass the State Senate.
"We don't need to blame anybody or lower the blame on one single individual person or group of people in the disappointment we experienced in the re-definition of marriage. We bishops look back and probably say we would have been more vigilant," Dolan said.
On Tuesday, more than a thousand members of the Catholic Conference are expected in Albany for a lobby day. Governor Andrew Cuomo says he supports the Reproductive Health Act but did not bring it up during his meeting with Dolan.
The cardinal says he raised the issue with the governor, but received no assurances.