Cardinal Dolan Speaks Out Against N.Y. Gov. Cuomo's Abortion-Rights Support

May 16, 2013 — Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Tuesday criticized New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for supporting abortion rights but declined to say whether he remained in "good standing" with the Catholic church, the New York Times reports (McKinley, New York Times, 5/14).

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 (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/25). In March, New York's Catholic bishops met with Cuomo to urge him to abandon the abortion provision (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/20).

During a radio interview with New York Post columnist Fredric Dicker, Dolan said that he supports much of Cuomo's Women's Equality Act proposal. However, he added that he and the governor "have very grave differences, and [abortion] is one of them" (New York Times, 5/14).

Dolan warned that Cuomo -- who has been mentioned as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 -- would face a "vociferous" and "rigorous" opposition from the archdiocese as he pushes to expand abortion rights (Orden, Wall Street Journal, 5/14).

Dolan Spokesperson Clarifies Remarks

On Wednesday, Joseph Zwilling, a spokesperson for Dolan, said the cardinal's remarks were not meant to question Cuomo's standing with the Catholic Church. Dolan "would not, and did not, suggest the governor might not be a Catholic in good standing going forward," Zwilling said.

Zwilling reaffirmed that the cardinal does disagree with Cuomo on the issue of abortion, adding that "he has been forthright with the governor on the matter, in public and in private" (McKinley, New York Times, 5/15).

Other Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, such as Secretary of State John Kerry and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, have faced calls for the denial of communion because of their stance (Wall Street Journal, 5/14).

When asked about Dolan's comments, Cuomo said, "The archbishop has mentioned his opposition to the choice law multiple times." He added, "The Catholic Church has made their opposition to choice known for many, many, many, many, many years. So there's nothing new to that" (New York Times, 5/14).