Recently there has been talk about the government overturning Roe v. Wade, a court case in 1973 that made abortion legal in many circumstances. However, New York decided to avoid the potential overturn by establishing their own abortion law. Senate Majority Leader for New York Andrea Miller is sending a message to the rest of the world about women's health and their decisions regarding abortion in New York.
The new law titled “Reproductive Health Act” gives women the ultimate right to choose if they want an abortion and also loosens the restrictions on abortions. For instance, the new law allows some late-term abortions to be legal. This specific act has sparked controversy on different news outlets and social media platforms.
In my opinion, this shouldn’t be receiving as much backlash as it’s getting because the provision specifically states that the late-term abortions can only be performed if the woman's life or health is at stake and if the fetus is viable or not.
This specific law will help thousands of women who are having non viable pregnancies, pregnancies when the fetus wouldn’t survive outside of the womb right after birth. It will relieve them from the pain and mental damage of having a child who dies hours or days after being born.
Another controversial provision to this law is that abortion will be removed from the criminal code. Many pro-life activists are upset by this because they believe abortion is murder and therefore a crime. On the opposite side, pro-choice activists believe that a women has the right to choose what she wants to do with her body.
A valid argument pro-life supporters bring up is that if a pregnant woman is assaulted and loses her pregnancy the Reproductive Health Act could make it harder for her to press charges or decrease the severity of the punishment for the abuser. I understand this argument and think they will need to figure out a solution to this legal problem. The issue is if the attacker should get double jail time or a murder charge for killing the unborn child. I think they will have to add another provision for these specific circumstances in the near future to get justice for the women who lost their pregnancies due to domestic abuse.
It would have been better for the new law to specify that abortion will be removed from the criminal code only if it’s willingly performed by a medical professional following all the provisions. So this way unwanted or forced abortion would have the same consequences they do now.
Overall, I think the idea of the law is good for women to be able to make their own choices about their bodies and be able to have the option of late-term abortion if it was needed to save their life or if the baby would not survive if born. However, lawmakers and Democrats need to revise the criminal provision of the law for cases of assault and murder to a pregnant women.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.