The New York State Catholic Conference published a memorandum of opposition on state budget bill S.7511/A.9511, part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "women's agenda" article VII bill that relates to late-term abortion expansion in New York.

"This legislation is one of Governor Andrew Cuomo's non-fiscal 'budget' bills that seeks to enact a multi-faceted new 'women's agenda,' similar to the 'women's equality act' put forth by the executive in 2013," the Catholic Conference noted. "Part 'B' of this legislation is a dangerous and unnecessary expansion of late-term abortion, and a leap into legalized infanticide.

"The executive's 2013 legislation was broken apart into 10 different bills by the Legislature, and nine out of 10 of those bills were enacted into law in 2015. The 10th plank, the late-term abortion expansion, was stopped by the Senate. Part B of this legislation deserves the same fate. It would strip all mention of abortion in our state's laws, resulting in the following consequences.

"It would expand late-term abortion. The primary objective of Part B of this legislation is to increase the availability of abortion in the third trimester of pregnancy. Current state law says abortions are legal in New York through 24 weeks of pregnancy, but outlawed after that unless they are necessary to save a woman's life. This bill would repeal all penal law references to abortion.

"It would empower non-doctors to perform abortions. The current New York State criminal code [states] that only a 'duly licensed physician' may perform abortions in New York. This legislation would strip this protection from women and hand policy-making authority to determine who may perform abortions to bureaucrats in the State Education Department and State Department of Health. It is likely that practitioners with less training and less experience -- such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurse midwives [and] other non-physicians -- will be empowered to do both chemical and surgical abortions.

"Stripping abortion from New York's penal law would remove accountability for those who would harm unborn children through coerced or unwanted abortion. This legislation would remove this current penal law protection for pregnant women in cases of coerced or unwanted abortion.

"It would legalize infanticide. Shockingly, this legislation repeals Public Health Law Section 4164, part of which gives full legal protection to any child who might (mistakenly) be born alive as the result of an abortion. It also requires a second doctor to be available during a late-term abortion to help give medical care to any such child.

"As this legislation seeks to remove protections in law for born-alive abortion survivors, Congress is moving in the opposite direction. On Jan. 19, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 'Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act' to provide penalties for medical personnel who do not provide medical care to infants born alive following an abortion.

"We urge you to oppose S.7511 unless Part B is completely stripped from the bill."

(For more information, go to www.nyscatholic.org or call 518-434-6195.)