Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) has been under fire from Catholic leaders for signing a gruesome abortion law that allows the murder of the unborn up to the moment of birth for effectively any reason.
However, Gov. Cuomo, a Catholic, is seemingly unconcerned with the backlash.
When asked about bishops' condemnation of the new abortion law and calls for the governor's excommunication by Catholic leaders — including two U.S. Bishops — Cuomo shrugged off the criticism, saying he wasn’t elected to "represent a religion" and pivoting to the Church's sex abuse scandal.
Using the strategically-euphemistic language of pro-abortion activists, the Democrat said in a radio interview on Monday that the Church doesn't stand for "a woman’s right to choose."
"The Catholic Church doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose," said Cuomo, according to the New York Post.
The governor then painted opposition to abortion of pain-capable, viable unborn babies as strictly a religious position, adding, "I understand their religious view. I’m not here to represent a religion. I’m here to represent all the people and the constitutional rights and limitations for all the people — not as a Catholic."
"'Bishops attack Gov. Cuomo.' Let's pull that headline up from 30 years ago," Cuomo said, further downplaying the backlash with a reference to his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo. Mario was similarly a Catholic who expanded abortion in New York state during his tenure, and unapologetically so.
Along with allowing abortion up to the moment of birth, the so-called Reproductive Health Act also loosens restrictions on who performs them, and removes the fatal procedure from the state's criminal code. "Every individual who becomes pregnant has the fundamental right to choose to carry the pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to have an abortion," reads the legislation signed by Cuomo.
So long as a licensed practitioner acts in "good faith," says the law, an abortion can be performed "to protect the patient's life or health." Notably, “health" was defined by the Supreme Court (Doe v. Bolton) to broadly include "emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age.”
Cuomo also called attention to the Child Victims Act when asked about New York's new extreme abortion law, aligning himself with Pope Francis (who’s been silent on Cuomo) and blasting Catholic bishops.
"I'll stand with the pope on this one," he said. "I think the bishops have worked to protect the church over doing justice. … They compounded the problem by covering it up and not taking responsibility … I don’t think I’m against the Catholic Church. I think the bishops may have a different position than the pope and I’m with the pope."
New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who has jurisdiction over Cuomo, has admonished the governor publicly, but has stopped short of excommunication.
"The fact that he's a Catholic as far as I’m concerned has nothing to do with it. Any thinking human being that would want a baby, allow a baby to be aborted right up to the moment of birth ... you don’t have to be a Catholic to abhor those types of things," Dolan said Monday on "Fox & Friends."
"Do not brag about making the state of New York the abortion capital of the world," he added. "That is not an enlightened progressive posture."
"We have a governor that uses his dissent from church teachings as applause lines," Dolan continued. "We have a governor that takes quotes from Pope Francis out of context to draw lines between bishops of New York and the Holy Father himself."
New York State Catholic Conference director Dennis Poust clarified in a statement issued Monday afternoon: "We did not oppose the final version of the Child Victims Act precisely because it treats all survivors equally, including those abused in public schools. We hope this legislation gives all survivors the opportunity to be heard and compensated, wherever they were abused."