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Catholic Bishops Lobby N.Y. Gov. Cuomo Against Expanding Abortion Rights

Catholic Bishops Lobby N.Y. Gov. Cuomo Against Expanding Abortion Rights

March 20, 2013 — New York's Catholic bishops on Tuesday met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to urge him to abandon his efforts to strengthen abortion rights in the state, the New York Times reports.

Cuomo's 2013 agenda includes a 10-point Women's Equality Act, which he has said will include a proposal called the Reproductive Health Act. The reproductive health measure has not been released, but it is expected to include a provision that would guarantee a woman's right to abortion in New York, even in the event that the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision is overturned.

The bishops said that they agree with most of Cuomo's women's equality proposals, except for the implications of the plan's final bullet: "Protect a woman's freedom of choice."

After the meeting, Bishop Howard Hubbard said, "I think we have different perspectives," adding, "He's looking at it from the perspective of the man who has to look at the law of the land, and we're looking at it from a moral perspective." He noted, "[W]hether these two can come together remains to be seen."

However, Bishop William Murphy said that the bishops will not alter their position on abortion "in this session or any other session."

Cardinal Timothy Dolan -- the outspoken archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops -- was unable to attend the meeting. However, he offered his support to the bishops' efforts in a blog post, writing that he was with them "in spirit" as they argued "for real choices for pregnant women and girls" considering abortion (McKinley, New York Times, 3/19).