Extreme Cuomo Governs Abortion Capital of America
When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told a local radio host that "extreme" conservative champions of life have no place in his state, he alienated a lot of residents, including Fox's Sean Hannity. This past Tuesday, Hannity told Greta Van Susteren, "[A]s soon as I am able ... I'm getting out of here as quick as I can."
Cuomo's planned rhetoric managed to rev up pro-life New Yorkers at the same time they were getting ready to attend their annual March for Life rally in Washington, D.C.
Why would a progressive politician from a state known as "the abortion capital of America" speak so recklessly when the majority of New Yorkers are already squeamish about the chart-topping number of abortions performed right under their noses?
Either Cuomo is out to make abortion a front-burner issue in the 2014 elections, in hopes of separating moderate Republicans and libertarians away from social conservatives, or the governor doesn't know he presides over a state that has attracted some of the most fanatical, extreme supporters and practitioners of abortion in the country for over 150 years.
New York and the abortion industry have a long and lucrative history up to and including the present day. Cuomo has happily carried on the tradition of protecting a woman's "right" to end her baby's life, which makes his "astonishing" statement not so astonishing. Just in the past year, the Catholic governor and various women's groups have been promoting a bill to codify federal abortion rights into state law, leading to greater access. But exactly how much more access do women need in New York?
In 2011, a health services department report determined that 40% of New York's pregnancies ended in abortion, with an average of 90,000 a year since the early 2000s. This makes New York the "abortion capital of the world."
In 2013, New York's teen abortion rate was the highest in the nation, according to figures from the Guttmacher Institute. Nearly 60% of pregnancies among 15- to 19-year-olds end in the death of the baby. A senior research associate with Guttmacher thinks more abortions in the teen group are a positive step forward.
"Being a teen mother has negative consequences for both the mother and the child, and abortion is one choice among many that teenage girls make to protect their futures," says Laura Lindberg.
The numbers are so extreme when it comes to teens and abortion that a spokeswoman for NARAL Pro-Choice New York countered the stats with yet another call to arms against the innocent. She suggested that the situation not be used as a reason to restrict abortion rights, stating, "When a woman is facing the decision of how to proceed with pregnancy, she's talking with her health-care providers...she's not consulting the statewide data."
A woman seeking an abortion hardly needs to look over the data. New York offers her all the amenities. Pregnant women can get abortions at doctors' offices, clinics, and hospitals. There is no requirement for parental consent, no waiting periods, no required viewing of ultrasound pictures, no counseling, little inconvenience, no hassle, and most insurances including Medicaid cover the abortion. Abortion on demand is available legally up to 24 weeks.
New York also has a ready crop of pro-choice doctors convinced that abortion is not only a legal right, but a noble act. In his 2005 article for New York Magazine, Ryan Lizza cited Planned Parenthood's Margaret Sanger Center as the largest abortion provider in New York. Dr. Maureen Paul, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood New York, stated that "a good chunk of the abortions in the U.S." are provided in their clinics. Doctors at the Margaret Sanger Center on Bleecker Street alone performed 11,000 abortions per year.
Dr. Paul: What I know when I perform an abortion for a patient is that the overwhelming feeling is one of relief. Because the abortion has solved a huge problem in her life, whether it's because she couldn't afford another child, couldn't afford to be a good mother to another child, or doesn't have the money to raise a child. ... Every time I do an abortion I save a woman's life.
Dr. Anne Davis of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center believes that New York needs to change a few more hearts and minds when it comes to making abortion more routine than it already has:
We would like to keep abortion part of regular medical care[.] ...
Our view is, abortion is nothing special. Abortion is right up there with having a baby or getting the care for whatever other medical needs you have.
Dr. Davis's nonchalance about taking the life of what even her New York colleague at Planned Parenthood deemed a "child" is nothing new. In the 19th century, Madame Restell, a quack abortionist after a quick buck, advertised her services and abortifacient wares in New York newspapers for forty years. By 1868, New York was the site of one in five abortions. But in the 1870s, the tide turned against Restell:
"There is a systematic business in wholesale murder conducted by men and women in this City, that is seldom detected, rarely interfered with, and scarcely ever punished by law," read a front-page report from 1871 headlined THE EVIL OF THE AGE.
A hundred years later, New York again became ground zero for those intent on making abortion on demand the law of the land. A far-left journalist from a wealthy family named Lawrence Lader became obsessed with abortion.
In the 1930s, Lader was an aide to New York Representative Vito Marcantonio, the only card-carrying communist ever elected to Congress. Lader was also associated with the American Labor Party, a communist front group. After meeting Margaret Sanger, the rabidly anti-Catholic Lader latched onto the birth control movement and credited her with his immersion in the fight against the unborn. Contraception was not enough to stop what he called "breeding ourselves to death."
Lader founded what was then called the National Association for Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), an organization of feminist groups, population control supporters, and underground abortion referral services. As chairman he recalled the first meeting and the decision to push through landmark abortion legislation in New York almost four years before Roe v. Wade.
We had just formed Naral, in February 1969 at a meeting in Chicago. We decided at that first meeting to concentrate on New York State as our breakthrough state. We felt that New York represented our best opportunity, and we knew that other states often looked to New York as setting an example. So we set up tables and gathered petitions in key districts in New York.
Over a year later, Lader's efforts paid off. New York State passed the most unrestrictive abortion law in the nation in April of 1970. A Democrat Assemblyman, George M. Michaels, from a mostly Catholic New York district, had previously voted against the bill, but then changed his mind at the last minute, giving those in favor the 76 votes they needed. When it came time for his re-election, Michaels was soundly defeated.
The 1970 breakthrough legislation led to a marketing campaign to bring in women from all over the country. "Want to be un-pregnant?" one advertisement read. In Florida, planes with banners flew over cities with the news that abortions were now legal and available in New York. As of 2011, the abortion business brought in $1.1 billion a year, much of that in states like New York where access to doctors and clinics was not an issue.
When it comes to what the left calls "reproductive health," the numbers show that New York has practiced extreme abortion, a situation that came about at the hands of those supporting an extremist, radical agenda on both sides of the aisle, including Andrew Cuomo.
Alluding to a famous battle cry, we should follow the left's lead: "If this be extreme, make the most of it."