On Wednesday, writing in The New York Times, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was so delighted with New York’s new abortion law allowing the killing of babies up until the moment of birth that he ordered the World Trade Center to be lit pink, linked Cardinal Timothy Dolan to the “religious Right.” That triggered Dolan; on Thursday, he fired off a statement slamming Cuomo, saying, “Debate abortion on what it is. Don’t hide behind labels like ‘right wing’ and ‘Catholic.’”
Cuomo had written:
Mr. Trump and the religious right are spreading falsehoods about New York’s law to inflame their base. Activists on the far right continue to mislead with the ridiculous claim that the act will allow abortions up to a minute before birth. While Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and the Catholic Church are anti-choice, most Americans, including most Catholics, are pro-choice. The 73 percent of New Yorkers who support Roe includes 59 percent of Catholics. While governments may very well enact laws that are consistent with religious teaching, governments do not pass laws to be consistent with what any particular religion dictates.
I was educated in religious schools, and I am a former altar boy. My Roman Catholic values are my personal values. The decisions I choose to make in my life, or in counseling my daughters, are based on my personal moral and religious beliefs.
Dolan wasted no time mocking Cuomo and the Times, beginning his statement, “Today, with a home field advantage in the New York Times, Governor Cuomo linked me with the ‘religious right.’”
This is something new from the governor. He did not consider me part of the “religious right” when seeking my help with the minimum wage increase, prison reform, protection of migrant workers, a welcome of immigrants and refugees, and advocacy for college programs for the state’s inmate population, which we were happy to partner with him on, because they were our causes too. I guess I was part of the “religious left” in those cases.
The civil rights of the helpless, innocent, baby in the womb, as liberal Democrat Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey once remarked is not about “right versus left, but right versus wrong.”
The governor also continues his attempt to reduce the advocacy for the human rights of the pre-born infant to a “Catholic issue,” an insult to our allies of so many religions, or none at all. Governor Casey again: “I didn’t get my pro-life belief from my religion class in a Catholic school, but from my biology and U.S. Constitution classes.”
Yes, religion is personal; it’s hardly private, as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and struggle for civil rights so eloquently showed. Governor Cuomo’s professed faith teaches discrimination against immigrants is immoral, too. Does that mean he cannot let that moral principle guide his public policy? Clearly not.
Debate abortion on what it is. Don’t hide behind labels like “right wing” and “Catholic.”
On January 17, after the new abortion law had been passed in New York, many Catholics demanded that Cuomo be excommunicated for his part in the debacle. The ordinaries of the Catholic dioceses in New York, headed by Dolan, would not call for his excommunication but did condemn the new abortion law, writing:
Words are insufficient to describe the profound sadness we feel at the contemplated passage of New York State’s new proposed abortion policy. We mourn the unborn infants who will lose their lives, and the many mothers and fathers who will suffer remorse and heartbreak as a result.
The so-called “Reproductive Health Act” will expand our state’s already radically permissive law, by empowering more health practitioners to provide abortion and removing all state restrictions on late-term procedures. With an abortion rate that is already double the national average, New York law is moving in the wrong direction …
Our Governor and legislative leaders hail this new abortion law as progress. This is not progress. Progress will be achieved when our laws and our culture once again value and respect each unrepeatable gift of human life, from the first moment of creation to natural death. Would that not make us truly the most enlightened and progressive state in the nation?