After seeing his state’s abortion laws singled out during Tuesday’s State of the Union address, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hit back at President Donald Trump, chastising him in a New York Times op-ed.
"Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments from birth," Trump said, referencing the Reproductive Health Act, which was signed into law last month. "These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world.”
The president also called on Congress to pass legislation that would ban "the late-term abortion of children, who can feel pain in the mother's womb.”
Cuomo said that “as part of their attack on women’s rights, Mr. Trump and his allies are intentionally spreading lies about New York’s Reproductive Health Act. Their goal is to end all legal abortion in our nation.”
“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,” he clarified. “Contrary to what its detractors claim, the Reproductive Health Act does not allow abortions minutes before birth, nor does it allow third-trimester abortions ‘for any reason.’"
The governor noted that third-trimester procedures are extremely rare, making up only about one percent of all abortions. The option is available only for extremely rare cases and is only considered if the life or health of the woman is being threatened by continuing the pregnancy.
Cuomo said that the idea behind the Reproductive Health Act was due to “an increasingly fractious political environment,” and fears that the Supreme Court could overrule the precedent. He said those fears increased with the confirmation of two right-leaning justices in Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
“Some states, like New York, feel an urgency to protect the rights of their citizens. Mr. Trump and the Catholic Church are opposed to state actions like the Reproductive Health Act — even though they merely codify existing federal law and firmly established practices.,” Cuomo stated. “Mr. Trump and the religious right are spreading falsehoods about New York’s law to inflame their base. Activists on the far right continue to mislead with the ridiculous claim that the act will allow abortions up to a minute before birth.”
“My oath of office is to the Constitutions of the United States and of the State of New York — not to the Catholic Church. My religion cannot demand favoritism as I execute my public duties,” Cuomo continued.
“ The First Amendment defines our most sacred freedoms, including freedom of the press, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. But the first one listed is freedom of religion. We cannot have true freedom of religion without separation of church and state. And the country cannot function if religious officials are dictating policy to elected officials.”
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