'No Discrimination of Abortion Rights' a Dangerous Policy; State Provision Could Become Federal Law
Byline: Daniel Smyth, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
New York could soon shut down Catholic and other health care providers for not offering or referring for abortions. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, with enough support in the New York state Legislature, could sign a Reproductive Health Act this year. Among other actions, the act would declare that New York shall not discriminate against the exercise of ... [abortion] rights ... in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services or information.
The New York State Catholic Conference argues this no discrimination of abortion rights provision could permit state regulators ... to require support for abortion from any agency or institution licensed or funded by the state. As the state grants medical licenses, New York could deny licenses to - and thus shut down - such institutions as Catholic and other hospitals or clinics that refuse to support abortion. New York could also deny these institutions Medicaid payments and other funding, which some of these institutions need for financial stability.
Other provisions in New York's Reproductive Health Act would establish abortion on demand in New York. For instance, the act would permit abortions until birth, allow public funding of abortion and repeal the requirement of parental notifications for minors' abortions.
New York didn't invent reproductive health acts. The state of Washington and six other states have passed laws that have such allowances as late-term abortions and public funding of abortions. However, to date, only Washington has passed a no discrimination of abortion rights provision. Also, since 1989, members of Congress have attempted to pass versions of a Freedom of Choice Act, which have contained many of the same provisions as New York's proposed law.
For instance, California Sen. Barbara Boxer's Freedom of Choice Act of 2004, which died in committee, permitted late-term abortions. Also, this act declared, A government may not ... discriminate against the exercise of ... [abortion] rights ... in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services or information.
If enough states pass reproductive health acts similar to New York's, there could be momentum for the U. …