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Making Law Out of Nothing at All


New York governor Andrew Cuomo held a press conference earlier this week, during which he was asked about the actual language of his abortion legislation. He assured the press language would not be forthcoming:

“Normally when we release bill language before an agreement, it means the probability of that bill passing is very, very low,” said Cuomo.

“To put forth specifics when you don’t have an agreement, in my experience, polarizes the parties,” he continued. “It makes it harder to come to an agreement because you push people to their respective corners. And I’ve found that counterproductive if your goal is actually to reach a consensus and reach an agreement, which by definition means that every person has to feel they were part of the solution, part of the win. When you start quantifying and polarizing, it works against that.”

Cuomo added that there were some instances when you could put out a bill and “not prejudice” the situation.

I can only imagine even his abortion-industry base wants to see the language — be assured he is meeting prerequisites for the 2016 Democratic primary. Still without an actual bill, he is now claiming it was all a joke:

“What I said was, and I should have known better than trying to have fun with the [Legislative Correspondence Association] at a press conference. They say, ‘Oh lighten up and have fun and just be yourself. Be light and happy. Be happy. And then you have a little fun and then they take it seriously,” Cuomo said.

He added: “I was poking at the point that there are proposals made and proposed bills released. Sometimes it’s more about posturing and issuing a press release than a bona fide legislative proposal that is going to be pursued in good faith.”

Taking a page from the Obama administration – I think of Obamacare, I think of the abortion-drug, contraception, sterilization mandate that flowed from it – Cuomo knows the-fewer-details-the-better when insisting on driving through radical policy. Few will believe it is as radical as it is as long as you bury it in happy talk about women’s equality. But the Reproductive Health Act as it has last been introduced would expand abortion access in the state. It would make the state even less hospitable to unborn human life than it already is. It would mean few protections and actual choice for women. There’s no lightening up about this. Not when the governor is being disingenuous on such a painfully grave issue.

We ran an editorial on Cuomo’s push in in February:

Like the abortion provisions in the Patient Protection Act, Governor Cuomo’s proposal is a gross assault on individual liberties. The free exercise of religion requires that institutions not be forced to violate their precepts and their consciences; freedom of speech means that counseling services must be free to express their views, regardless of whether those views are welcome in Albany. Even those who support the right to abortion ought to be able to appreciate that “choice” also applies to those who do not wish to provide abortions, to house abortionists, or to finance them.

Governor Cuomo began his term in a conciliatory fashion, concentrating on nuts-and-bolts issues related to budgets and state services. He presented himself as a moderate, and was welcomed as one. The lesson he apparently has drawn from the reelection of Barack Obama is that being a cultural lightning rod can pay political dividends if you know how to run the game. That sort of calculation on a run-of-the-mill political issue would be merely cynical; in this case, it is monstrous.

No woman in New York is being denied an abortion because of public policy. But Governor Cuomo’s proposal will ensure that many vulnerable women and children are denied much-needed services and care. It will do so by forcing many providers of health care and social services out of the business. Just as the Diocese of Boston dropped its adoption program rather than comply with Massachusetts’s demand that it place children into same-sex households, agencies providing services to women will direct their resources elsewhere rather than become involved in abortion. The Catholic Archdiocese of New York alone operates about 90 social-service institutions—and Governor Cuomo apparently is willing to sacrifice the people who rely on them in order to advance his political career.

Lightening up is not an option here. The governor of New York wants voters to look away and legislators to feel obliged, paying no attention to the dangerous details. Have we learned nothing from the Gosnell story? Do the words “women’s health” have no meaning beyond what the abortion-industry dictates to politicians who want its support? 


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