Of all the troubling headlines I'm finding from Western New York these days, one headline trumps them all - the latest proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to expand abortion law to include virtually an anything-goes policy.
Was there any outcry for late-term abortion rights in the state? Most know New York is far from conservative - especially on abortion policy. Americans United for Life ranks New York 48th in all states for having pro-life laws: no informed consent, no parental involvement, public funding for abortion encouraged. New York's abortion rate is almost double the national average.
Recent polling from the Chiaroscuro Foundation shows 70 percent of New Yorkers believe that there is sufficient access to abortion in New York at present, that non-physicians should not be allowed to perform abortions, and that there should not be an unlimited right to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.
Killing a pre-born baby past 24 weeks is considered a homicide currently in New York - as it is in Pennsylvania). Why 24 weeks? One of the reasons is that the medical risks from abortion surgery increase exponentially as a pregnancy develops. For instance, using pro-choice minded Guttmacher Institute statistics, one death occurs for every 1 million abortions before week 8 compared to one death per 11,000 past 21 weeks.
This all in the wake of the recent death of a New York school teacher due to complications from her abortion at 33 weeks gestation. With all this evidence in mind, the governor should stop promoting any late-term procedure. Yet Gov. Cuomo has failed to even address the recent death and stands with his proposal; putting more women at risk of injury and death.
Gov. Cuomo needs to watch the new documentary "3801 Lancaster" and learn from a page of Pennsylvania's horrific history. Instead of pushing for non-physicians to be allowed to perform abortions and allow late-term abortion to be performed for any reason, he should truly be concerned about the health and safety of women and not push his radical abortion-minded positions at their expense.
I had the privilege of seeing my first child born recently and witnessing the stages of the pregnancy. Hearing the heart beat at 8 weeks. Seeing my little guy on an ultrasound monitor at 21 weeks. I kept repeating to the nurses that I was in awe of the technology they used to check-up on my son. I was given the joy of looking through this window to see my child's hands and feet and nose and heart - all before his birth.
The survival rates of babies born at 24 weeks are growing significantly higher. We are kidding ourselves to say a baby at 24 weeks and beyond - with a beating heart that feels pain, looks like a baby and has a great chance of living on its own - is just a blob of tissue that can be discarded.
Whatever Gov. Cuomo's motivation is, it is certainly not about the health and safety of the citizens he represents.
Dan Bartkowiak, a former Fredonia resident, currently resides in Camp Hill, Pa.