Gov. Cuomo’s Codification Claim

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

Andrew Cuomo and his allies have been insisting for months that his abortion-expansion campaign is but a mere codification of federal law, as has been noted here on the Corner today, and those who call him out on the claim are dismissed as liars. He should not be able to get away with that. Ed Mechmann, a former prosecutor who knows the state of the law, does his part to help, explaining:

Perhaps the Governor’s staff needs to do a little legal research before they accuse people of lying about what federal law of abortion actually is.  Perhaps then they will understand how extreme the Governor’s Reproductive Health Act is.

Unlike the Governor’s bill, federal law does not consider the right to abortion an unqualified “fundamental right”, on the same legal plane as the right to vote or political speech.  Nor does federal law maintain that all regulations of abortion must stand up to the highest standard of review by courts (“compelling state interest/strict scrutiny”).  No federal law has ever given permission to non-doctors to perform abortions.  No federal law outlaws “discrimination” against abortion in the granting of state licenses, provision of services, etc.  No federal law has virtually eliminated basic criminal penalties for involuntary or back-alley abortions.

Yet the Governor’s bill does all that, and more.

If the Governor really wants to codify federal law, perhaps he’ll agree to passing a partial birth abortion ban?  Or an unborn victims of violence ban, protecting unborn children from criminal assaults?   Or a restriction on taxpayer funding so that abortion on demand is not being subsidized?  Or an expansion of conscience protection for health professionals who do not wish to participate in abortions, based on their religious or moral beliefs?

All of those provisions are current federal law.  All of those offer a higher level of protection for unborn children, compared to current New York law.  All of those, and more, have been enacted by other states, and are supported by wide majorities of Americans — laws requiring parental involvement in abortion decisions by minors, providing support for pregnancy alternatives comparable to that given to abortion clinics, requiring full informed consent (including sonograms) before an abortion, limits on late-term abortions of fully-developed children, bans on sex-selection abortions, etc.

The fact is that all of these reasonable regulations of abortion would be impossible under the Governor’s abortion expansion plan.

The fact is that the Governor’s plan goes far beyond federal law, far beyond common sense, and far beyond what New Yorkers want and need.