This is part one of a two part series on the passing of New York's Reproductive Health Act.
The recent passing of New York state's Reproductive Health Act has caused an uproar between Pro Choice and Pro Life advocates. There is much confusion as to what the bill actually says and does.
The fact checking web site, Snopes, has posted an article fact checking the claim from Pro Life advocates that the bill allows abortion up to term. So did Snopes get this one right? Here's what they did get right:
Some have cited this as a slam dunk on Pro Life advocates who claim the bill allows for unrestricted abortion up to term. But the truth is, the term "health" is ambiguous in the bill and is separated from "life" as a different scenario. Health can mean anything from Gestational Diabetes to Pre-eclampsia. It can also be used to mean anything health related - from mental stress to economic strain.
Jay Watts, president of Merely Human, Inc. believes those who do not think the bill would be used in that manner have not read the bill and do not understand current abortion law.
It shows people don’t understand abortion law in the U.S. The third trimester considerations in Roe were set aside in Doe v Bolton’s absurdly broad health exception back in 1973. That exception goes beyond physical health and life of the mother and includes emotional, financial, and familial health. Planned Parenthood v Casey reaffirmed the exception in 1992 while abandoning the trimester system for a viability standard. This means that New York both affirmed the health exception while simultaneously eliminating all other considerations for the unborn in their state penal code. They also opened up the possibility of heightened allowances for PA’s to participate in performing abortions.
In short, the bill actually expands the ability for late term abortions for all of the reasons abortions are performed in every state. The previous law which restricted late term abortions to only those scenarios that put the mother's life in danger (which are less than 2% of all abortions performed annually) has now been expanded to include the mother's health which is not more specifically defined in the bill. The bill also defines a "person" as someone who has been born and is alive. This is not a scientific statement, but rather a metaphysical one which the NY state legislature has no authority to make.
So the fact is, the Reproductive Health Act expands abortions in the state of New York to include late term abortions where as previously, New York state law restricted late term abortions.
Those are the facts.