On Tuesday night, while the nation tuned into Donald Trump’s State of the Union (SOTU) address, many braced themselves for what would likely be a presentation of misleading statements mixed with inaccurate portrayals of his record. The office of Governor Andrew Cuomo was among that number.
With the recent passage of the Reproductive Health Act (RHA), a law ensuring that women have the ability to access the care that they need to protect their health without fear of being criminalized, New York was a likely target for Trump who has made it his mission to overturn Roe v. Wade and revoke a woman’s right to choose.
“Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth,” Trump said of the RHA during his address. “These are living, feeling, beautiful, babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world.”Although Trump painted the picture of women now having the permission to abort a child for whatever reason, up until the point of delivery, the RHA, as Cuomo’s office defends, simply “codifies Roe v Wade into New York law.”
In part, the legislation was put in place to protect women who are forced to choose between their life or death if potentially fatal issues arise later on in their pregnancy. Instead of leaning on the government to decide what happens to her or her child, women in New York can now, along with their health care professionals, make a decision that’s appropriate for their particular situation.
The RHA also ensures that abortion is viewed as health care. That means doctors can perform the procedure safely without it being seen as a criminal act. Although Trump said he would be appealing to Congress to “pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.” The bill in its current form only allows abortion after the 24th week of pregnancy if a woman’s health or life is in danger, or if a fetus is not viable.
Trump aimed to further vilify the act and pull on the heartstrings of viewers by saying, “Let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.” But New York officials insist, “This bill/act is about making sure that at every point in pregnancy, a woman’s health drives important medical decisions. Politicians are not medical experts and this is not an area where they should be interfering.”