I have friends, good people who want a better world just like I do, who vehemently disagree with me on the life issue. We’re still friends, still able to communicate with each other without turning any encounter into a shouting match.
When New York passed its recent abortion law, I thought about these friends, asking myself, “How do I communicate with them about the New York law? How do I assist them in seeing this as something other than a law ‘giving women the right to choose?’”
And more important, “What could I say in less than a minute which would cause them to re-think?”
I could wade into the murky waters of third-trimester abortion and the “health” exception in the law. Or, I could attack the law from the infanticide angle. Honestly, there are a hundred angles to take.
But if I only had one minute, I might talk about one glaring aspect of this law, one which should concern anyone who favors the label, “pro-choice.” Here it is: This New York law discriminates against every woman who chooses life by declaring this decision invalid and thus, unprotected. In addition, this law allows anyone (yes, anyone, from a boyfriend to a thug, to a drunk driver to...anyone) to override this decision without threat of penalty.
Crazy? Yes. But true. This is not hyperbole or an over-dramatization. It’s fact. It’s the law. In. New. York.
From the statute: “'Person,”'when referring to a victim of a homicide, means a human being who has been born and is alive.'" (S2796)
What does this definition mean, and how does it impact real-life?
Let’s take a woman and her husband, who try for years to become pregnant. Finally, they see a positive test result. They wait to tell friends, just in case. Six weeks, nine weeks, twelve weeks pass. A visit to the OB/GYN. Prenatal vitamins. Daily visits to their new, favorite web site to track their baby’s growth and every development milestone (“Honey, today he’s as big as an okra!”).
With a bit of faith, they tell friends. Tears of joy. 348 “likes” on Facebook. Even more on Instagram. A visit to the furniture store as the nursery begins to take shape.
Finally, an ultrasound. Then, the gender-reveal party and, “It’s a GIRL!” More excitement. Pink balloons, a new color for the nursery (“because till now, we just knew it was a boy!”).
A name is chosen. Her name is to be Ella Grace. “We’re sooooo excited,” they tell friends.
Then at 24 weeks another visit to the doctor. Time to take those childbirth classes, and soon!
But on the way back from class one night, a car accident. A drunk driver—second offense, didn’t learn the first time—runs a stop sign and crashes into the passenger’s side, where our mom sits. A terrible jolt. She seizes her chest. Something isn’t right.
An ambulance takes her to the hospital, where wonderful nurses and doctors try to stop what she knows is happening. But they can’t. This child, the one they prayed about for years, is gone. Mom will recover, but only physically. The prayer, the hope, the baby, will never sleep in the new crib. Never is a long time.
The driver of the other car is charged with drunk driving, endangerment and a couple of other offenses. He may spend a year in jail. Maybe.
But when this couple asks—with pleading eyes—“What about our baby?” the State of New York has an answer: “Non-Person. Doesn’t matter. Don’t care.”
What’s worse, the New York legislature, while spitting on every woman and man who chooses life, celebrated by clapping and cheering as the bill passed.
If this weren’t enough, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), demanded iconic buildings be lit up in pink lights to say to all who choose life, “You and your worthless unborn children are not protected in MY state.”
I’m not being over-dramatic here, because “worthless” defined means to have no value. This is the law in New York. An unborn child, regardless of the worth to mom and dad, has no value in New York. None. He or she is unrecognized.
Tweet This: “This is the law in New York. An unborn child, regardless of the worth to mom and dad, has no value in New York." @KirkWalden #prolife
I can’t begin to fathom where this might lead. For instance, what if a pregnant woman in New York needs a medical procedure to save the life of her pre-born child and must access public health funds? Will New York allow her to use one public dollar to help a non-person? While some might say no state would ever deny anyone healthcare, this is a logical, reasonable next step once a person is denied personhood. After all, why would we force anyone to pay for a procedure to help a non-entity?
In addition, New York told every man who forces the miscarriage of a child he doesn’t choose (whether through beating or other means), “Have at it, Pal. It’s all good.” Sure, there might be an assault charge (if she presses charges—most do not) but a good lawyer can minimize the sentence. And hey, you don’t have to worry about those pesky child support payments. Go ahead and take your chances. It’s the new New York way.
In closing, I would gently tell my friends—again—that in New York, any person can override a woman’s choice of life, with minor—if any—consequences. Thanks to the New York legislature and governor, a pregnant woman who loves her child is on her own. There is no deterrent to stop someone from assaulting her unborn child. Not one.
New York’s governor and legislature heralded this new law as a victory for choice. But for all who choose life, the law is clear: “No choice for you.”