Social media and conservative news was abuzz this week as New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo, used the anniversary of Roe v. Wade to sign a new abortion law into effect in the state, which removed virtually every protection that was in place for preborn babies. The law legalizes abortion for fetal abnormalities and for any other reason covered by the phrase “health of the mother,” at any point in pregnancy. This news, while horrifying, isn’t as new as many seemed to think. For quite some time, it’s been legal to abort preborn babies until the ninth month in seven states plus Washington D.C.: Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont.
New York brings the total to eight states plus Washington, D.C.
Maryland, like New York, also allows for late-term abortions, though the state has a limit on abortions past the point of viability. The state likewise allows abortion for “fetal abnormality,” which includes diagnoses like Down syndrome. In other words, in Maryland, while there is an abortion limit on the books, if a baby is diagnosed with Down syndrome or any other “abnormality,” that child can be aborted in the ninth month (rather than birthed and placed for adoption).
Adding to those numbers are states that allow abortion for the so-called “exceptions.” In Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia, preborn babies can be aborted later than the states’ legal limits if they are found to have a “lethal abnormality.” While lethal abnormalities are the ones that are usually considered to be “incompatible with life,” the fact is, some of those children end up living in spite of their diagnoses. In-utero diagnoses are not 100 percent accurate.
Regardless of whether the child will survive, abortion is an inhumane process. The U.S. is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. We join the ranks of nations like China, infamous for its harsh abortion policies and other oppressive regimes such as North Korea. The others are Canada, Netherlands, Singapore, and Vietnam.
A look at this chart from the Kaiser Family Foundation further shows the reach of abortion legality nationwide. You can see it summarized and highlighted in this Excel spreadsheet (note that this is a year old, so NY is not current):
The states selected are those with no abortion restrictions, as well as those with exceptions for the “life and health of the mother.” The key word is health. A law specifying “physical health” provides more rigorous limits. But when the exception is codified merely as “health,” the law moves into slippery territory because an abortionist who stands to profit from committing an abortion can claim that a woman’s mental or emotional health is affected by the pregnancy and can abort — even when a child is clearly able to survive outside the womb.
Experts have stated that it is never necessary to deliberately kill a preborn baby to save the child’s mother, though in the process of saving the mother, sometimes the baby may unintentionally die. This is not an abortion.
One reproductive rights group in New York rejoiced at the law, saying they felt confident no matter what happened in the Supreme Court, women’s reproductive rights were “safe” in New York. Of course, babies’ lives are not. Pro-lifers must not become complacent, because those in favor of abortion clearly are not, as New York has shown. The stark realization about abortion has the potential to be a catalyst for more pro-life laws to be passed.
It is encouraging to see that many people, even those who normally view abortion as just another social issue, to take notice and take a stand, even if it took eight states to remove protections for preborn children to get them to take notice. For a few days the pro-life movement has been united in horror, united in voice, being willing to speak out, suddenly unafraid to use social media platforms to cry out for the preborn against the evils occurring. Let’s continue to fight with the same vigor as the pro-abortion movement has been doing. Only then will babies be safe.
Read the text of New York’s law here.