Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the legalization of late-term abortions—i.e. infanticide under the guise of a law called the “Reproductive Health Act.”
For us who believe life begins at conception, abortion has been an ugly reality. For those who believe life begins at some point in utero, the struggle has been to balance access to abortion with our country’s founding fundamental principle that all men are God’s creation, made in His image and likeness, endowed with inalienable rights worthy of governmental protection.
Our founding fathers who revolted against governmental tyranny secured in our constitution inalienable rights: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This hierarchy of rights was not arbitrary. Government may regulate our property when property rights offend one’s life and liberty, one’s choice to act as one sees fit, when it offends one’s constitutionally protected right to exist.
The abortion rights debate is centered on: How does government strike a balance between its compelling interest to protect life and a woman’s exercise of her liberty to terminate that life?
As the right to life supersedes the exercise of one’s liberty, restrictions on abortion were made to rest on the issue of when life begins. Therefore, in the 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court held that the government had a compelling interest in the life of the unborn to restrict late-term abortions (i.e. third trimester), but not abortions in the first trimester. The court essentially holding that early in the pregnancy, the unborn was not life worthy of governmental restrictions on a woman’s choice to abort.
Roe’s trimester approach was a short-lived precedent and was abandoned by the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The court recognized advances in perinatal medicine had pushed fetal viability into the earliest weeks of in utero development. Science was validating our instinctive belief that life begins at conception.
The court held government had a sufficient interest in the unborn life to restrict abortion access earlier than the last trimester. The court holding that the government had an interest in protecting the unborn at the time of viability.
Non-viability became the construct to justify the elimination of the most innocent and vulnerable of humankind. “Viability,” like the trimester approach, is problematic. The term has no definable meaning and is constantly in flux as science continues to confirm the truth of our most primordial instincts that life begins at conception.
Despite how we would like to convince ourselves to the contrary, abortion doesn’t terminate a biological process, the growth of cells; it destroys a life, it destroys the incarnation of a soul. A soul formed before conception; that intangible, unquantifiable, immeasurable metaphysical but intrinsic part of our being which existed before we were conceived and which we all hope survives our physical death.
In Judeo-Christian thought our being has always been and will always be. As so beautifully put in scripture: Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you.
Again, intuitively we know this to be true. However, in order to keep the right to abortion legal, as it has taken a hold in our culture, we leave this most profound of existential mysteries to be resolved by spineless, pandering legislators. It becomes our New York State legislators that determine when life begins while the governor takes his throne on Mount Olympus.
Undeniable scientific facts will doom Roe and its progeny. In the face of that inevitability, which is not a Trumpian agenda, but the truth revealing itself, our state government responds by removing all pretense of legal protections for the unborn, deeming it not human life and therewith legalizing infanticide.
The Reproductive Health Act goes far beyond writing Roe into New York law as espoused by Cuomo. The Reproductive Health Act is the codification of a new holocaust—destruction and slaughter of life on a mass scale buoyed by propaganda.
The impacts of the Reproductive Health Act will be social and psychological as the state will continue to propagandize that life in the womb is not human life. The Reproductive Health Act legalizes the termination of human life that two weeks ago had been deemed worthy of legal protection.
The holocaust, during the Nazi period, took hold as a result of a propaganda campaign dehumanizing the Jews, that is voiding them of their inherent divinity and of being worthy of protection by their government. Every Nazi and or Nazi sympathizer who sent innocents and their protectors to certain death, did so with misplaced, indoctrinated, righteousness because they were propagandized into believing the Jew s were not human; they were vermin, sub-human.
The Nazis did not come to power via a violent coup d’état, but through a progressive campaign of propaganda slowly enveloping an uninformed, disinterested and unbelieving populous.
We are all too often told that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. But scholars of history are vigilant to the fact that history does not repeat itself verbatim. The new holocaust will not necessarily arrive via another maniacal evil zealot with an odd mustache wearing a swastika on his sleeve.
Be forewarned it may come much more subtly. Perhaps in the form of a democratically elected governor of a state that once was the crown jewel of the greatest nation in human history signing a bill allowing for infanticide that only by the contrivances of Joseph Goebbels could be called the Reproductive Health Act.
That governor lighting the night sky pink over the graves of 2,606 innocents, slaughtered on 9/11—or more accurately 2,617, as 11 of the dead were pregnant—their memorial stones inscribed with their names and the phrase “and her unborn child,” all whilst that governor wears his Catholic faith on his sleeve and is cheered on by a constituency including the historically marginalized, those people of color whose children continue to be disproportionately aborted.
The Reproductive Health Act is a stain on this state. It brings shame on us all. It signifies the beginning of allowing all life to become vulnerable to the arbitrary whim and fancy of political think; a dangerous precedent and one which in years to come will provide little solace to those who may be deemed the infirmed, incurable and geriatric all perhaps also unworthy of constitutional protections.
Michael Grace, an attorney, is a former town supervisor of Yorktown (2012-17).