Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed that the New York state constitution be amended to guarantee a woman’s right to abortion. The governor’s concern is that the federal courts will become more conservative, based on President Trump’s judicial nominations and that could possibly lead to an overturning of Roe v. Wade and curtailing of abortion rights. Local papers have supported the proposed amendment as the right approach.
There are millions of people in New York who believe that abortion is morally wrong. Setting aside the social debate, it is a biological fact that once a woman’s ovum is fertilized and mitosis begins, the end result is a human being and from the pro-life perspective, abortion, at any stage of development, kills a human life.
The governor’s proposal does not address the pro-life advocates’ convictions. If there is to be a vote on the right to abortion then there should also be a vote on the right of the unborn to have personhood constitutionally conveyed to them in New York.
Personhood for the unborn is a movement that arose out of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. It strives to establish legal recognition of human status at the point of conception. The conveyance of personhood to the fetus provides the child with constitutional protections.
The United States Constitution does not define a person. Justice Blackmun, who wrote the Roe v. Wade decision, said that if it is established that a fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, then the case for the right to abortion collapses. The Fourteenth Amendment states “nor shall any State deprive any person of life…without due process of law”. In New York, the legislature has an opportunity to resolve this ambiguity in the legal status of the unborn children by letting the citizens vote to constitutionally provide them with the legal status of being a person.
Our governor and the media act as if society presumes that abortion is a right. Yes, there are many people who believe that a woman should not be prevented from doing what she feels is best for her. However, there are many other people who believe that a baby is entitled to the right to life as a person without regard to what point he or she is at in their prenatal development. If our state representatives believe that abortion is so important a societal decision that it requires the people to vote on it then surely the question of whether a child has the right to live deserves a vote also.