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Catholic bishops denounce Reproductive Health Act

January 17, 2019 07:27 PM

NEW YORK (WHEC) - Catholic leaders are denouncing a controversial bill moving toward passage in Albany that expands abortion rights in the state of New York. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing for a constitutional amendment to codify Roe v. Wade. At the same time, Cuomo is also leaning on state lawmakers to pass the Reproductive Health Act. 

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"Let's be the first state and let's show the nation what real women's equality means and not just talking the talk but we're going to walk the walk and we're going to do it this year," Cuomo said to a roaring applause at his State of the State address in Albany. 

The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) would declare abortion a fundamental right in New York state. The law would make late-term abortions legal in cases where a mother's health is at risk or a fetus is not viable. 

The bill also allows health care professionals like nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform abortions. 

RHA, if passed, also de-criminalizes abortion by moving the state's abortion regulations from the penal code to the health code.  

In a statement on Thursday, the Catholic Bishops of New York State said, "Words are insufficient to describe the profound sadness we feel at the contemplated passage of New York state's new proposed abortion policy. 

We mourn the unborn infants who will lose their lives, and the many mothers and fathers who will suffer remorse and heartbreak as a result. The so-called "Reproductive Health Act" will expand our state's already radically permissive law, by empowering more health practitioners to provide abortion and removing all state restrictions on late-term procedures. With an abortion rate that is already double the national average, New York law is moving in the wrong direction."

Previous attempts to pass RHA have stalled, typically blocked by the Republican-led state Senate but in November of 2018, Democrats took over the Senate majority, so it's likely that there is only a matter of weeks until this bill is passed. 

"The state is now liberated with the Senate Democratic caucus and we can get these things done," Cuomo said.  

To read more about the RHA, click here.

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Jennifer Lewke

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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