By Bishop Richard J. Malone
As I write this February blog, I am with my brother bishops from
across New York state on our annual five-day retreat. I must confess a
bit of guilt that I am disregarding the strong suggestion of our Jesuit
retreat master that we all disconnect from diocesan business and shut
down our iPhones so as to listen more attentively to the Holy Spirit.
Even in my quiet prayer, though, I have been so distracted by two
looming concerns that I finally suspected that maybe the Lord was
nudging me to deal with them even while on retreat. So, here goes.
lethal bills have been introduced in Albany: A.1748 in relation to
abortion expansion, and A.10059/S.7579 in relation to legalizing
The bishops of New York state are firmly
opposed to both. And we call upon all Catholics and other people of good
will concerned about the common good to stand in solidarity with us.
abortion expansion legislation is a re-branded attempt to extend
abortion in our state, similar to the failed 10th plank of the 2013
"Women's Equality Agenda." This bill would expand late-term abortion
beyond the now legal 24 weeks of pregnancy, allowing abortion for pretty
much any reason and at any time during pregnancy, even in the ninth
This bill would permit non-physicians to perform
abortion, clearly dangerous for women and infants. The intent of this
bill is to make abortion a fundamental right, superseding even the right
of conscience of those who find abortion morally abhorrent. Doctors
could be compelled to perform abortions or face loss of their licenses.
Health insurance plans could be forced to cover abortion, and employers
could be forced to purchase such insurance.
shocking of all, this legislation would repeal Public Health Law Section
4164, part of which gives full legal protection to any child who might
"mistakenly" be born alive as a result of an abortion. Recall the grand
jury report on abortionist Kermit Gosnell that states that "he regularly
and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of
pregnancy, and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal
cords with scissors." We cannot allow New York state to make the crime
for which Gosnell is serving a life sentence legal.
Abortions in New York state have been trending down. Let's not let this trend be reversed.
second bill would allow physicians to prescribe lethal doses of
medication for the purpose of ending a patient's life. In its statement
of opposition to this legislation, the NYS Catholic Conference notes
that legalizing physician-assisted suicide would blur longstanding
medical, moral and legal distinctions between withdrawing extraordinary
medical assistance and taking active steps to destroy human life. One
lets people die a natural death, a morally acceptable course, and the
other is the deliberate and direct act of hastening death.
bill undermines the physician's role as healer, forever altering the
doctor-patient relationship. In effect, it turns doctors into killers.
are many tragic flaws in this bill. People who consider suicide,
perhaps after a terminal diagnosis, are often deeply depressed. This
legislation requires no counseling or mental health treatment. Think
about the possibilities of elder abuse and of exploitation of persons
with severe disabilities and other vulnerabilities.
importantly, remember the alternatives to assisted suicide like pain
management, hospice care and palliative medication.
Catholics are concerned about these lethal bills because of our
commitment to the common good of the people of our state. And because
the gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of life.
Take action now through this online petition: www.nyscatholic.org/nys-catholic-conference-action-center/