NY Law Is Infanticide

Jan 29, 2019

The so-called “Reproductive Health Act,” recently signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, authorizes the murder of unborn babies up to the point of birth for any reason and revokes medical care for babies who are born alive after a failed abortion. This new law, which also applies to nonresidents who come to New York for an abortion, denies any legal protection or rights for an unborn child.

When any abortion law uses the word “health” in addition to “life,” and the definition of “health” is not clearly specified, it is likely relying on the broad definition of “health” in the 1973 Doe v. Bolton opinion. The New York law does not define the word “health” but states:

“A health care practitioner licensed, certified, or authorized under title eight of the education law, acting within his or her lawful scope of practice, may perform an abortion when, according to the practitioner’s reasonable and good faith professional judgment based on the facts of the patient’s case: the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” (emphasis added).

Under this law, the mother can obtain an abortion for any reason using the broad application of the word “health.” Under Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe v. Wade, the word “health” includes emotional, psychological, familial, situational, and financial considerations. 

While many states have laws which require appropriate medical care and treatment for babies who are born alive after a failed abortion, the state of New York repealed that section of the public health law. Now the same medical personnel who would work to save a preemie, need not do anything for a baby the same age who survived an abortion.

This new law also seeks to deny any recognition or protection for human beings before birth under any circumstances. Until now, New York had been one of 38 states whose homicide statute could apply before birth. The law defined homicide as including “conduct which causes the death of...an unborn child” after 24 weeks “under circumstances constituting” existing categories of homicide. The so-called “Reproductive Health Act” repealed that language so that deliberately causing the death of a child whose mother never even considered abortion is no crime at all.

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