By Richard J. Malone
North Korea. Canada. Singapore. The Netherlands. China. United States.
What do these seven countries have in common?
They are the only countries in the world that allow abortions past 5 months of a preborn baby’s development.
On the evening of Monday, Jan. 29, the United States Senate failed to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. We must recall that 20 weeks equals 5 months. Thus we are talking about pregnancies that are very far along.
Late-term abortion is an extremely invasive procedure that requires the lethal injection and dismemberment of fully-formed infants. It is a scientifically established fact that these babies can feel pain. We cannot disregard the scientific evidence regarding fetal nervous systems, which are established by 6 weeks’ gestation. Infants in the womb exhibit reflexive movement during invasive procedures as early as 6 weeks after fertilization. In 2006, two independent studies examined fetal brain scans and found “clear cortical response” to painful stimuli. We cannot ignore what science makes clear for us.
While the failure of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is of tremendous national significance, it is even more alarming to know what is happening right here in New York State! One of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s non-fiscal budget bills includes language that is a radical and unnecessary expansion of late-term abortion. It has NO place in a budget bill and should not become law. This ludicrous legislation would:
- Allow abortion for any reason and at any time in a pregnancy including into the ninth month right up until the moment of birth
- Empower non-doctors to perform abortions
- Eliminate protections for pregnant women against coerced abortion or intentional assaults on their unborn child
- Dramatically increase the state’s abortion rate
- Legalize infanticide
This shocking legislation repeals part of the Public Health Law, which gives full legal protection to any child who might (mistakenly) be born alive as the result of an abortion. It is difficult to fathom the motivation of Cuomo in removing these protections, which have been upheld as constitutional.
If this information causes your blood to boil or your heart to break, know that you can take action. You can visit the New York State Catholic Conference website at www.nyscatholic.org and click the “Take Action!” tab to express your concerns to your State Senator. The state budget must be enacted by April 1.
It is with tremendous urgency that I ask you to consider taking immediate action by visiting this website and sending a strong message to your lawmaker. If you are of a prayerful persuasion, I ask you to join me in praying that this atrocious legislation shall not come to pass. Together, we can make our voices heard as we speak for the most vulnerable in our society – our preborn brothers and sisters.
Richard J. Malone is bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.