Abortion debate renewed at State Capitol

Posted at: 02/27/2013 4:47 PM
Updated at: 02/27/2013 6:09 PM
By: Bill Lambdin

ALBANY - For opposite reasons, both abortion rights supporters and opponents want changes to the current situation in New York State.

"New York is the abortion capital of the country," said Dr. Miriam Grossman, a psychiatrist. "The rate here is almost twice the national rate. Legislation to increase access is not what most people want."

While a coalition of doctors participating in a news conference at the Capitol opposes efforts to clarify abortion rights, other doctors' organizations want those rights clearly spelled out.

"It's a criminal procedure if you violate the act in any way, shape or form as it currently stands," said Donna Montalto, the executive director of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "Abortion is a medical issue. It's a health issue and it belongs in the Public Health Law."

There is legislation introduced in the Senate and the Governor is expected to offer his own bill. The thought is that if the U.S. Supreme Court were to weaken or abandon abortion rights, legislation in New York State would be in place with strong guarantees.

One side is arguing that exceptions permitting procedures after 24 weeks are evasive.

"I implore state lawmakers, please, do not approve any bill based on the false pretense that abortion after the point of fetal viability is necessary to protect the health or life of the mother," said Dr. Kyle Beiter, an Obstetrician and Gynecologist "This is simply not true."

The other side says that is absurd.

"If a mother was dying of cancer, dying of hemorrhage, dying of a pulmonary embolis, you need to save the mother's life," said Montalto.