by Carol Swain
“My mother is not expendable, and your mother is not expendable, and our brothers and sisters are not expendable, and we’re not going to accept a premise that human life is disposable, and we’re not gonna put a dollar figure on human life. The first order of business is save lives, period. Whatever it costs.” Governor Andrew Cuomo (NY-D).
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s powerful statement about the value of human life reminds us that good can come out of the most unexpected circumstances, including the coronavirus that has devastated New York. His bold statement, recognizing the sanctity of human life, represents a sea change from his position on Jan. 23, 2019, when he signed into law the most liberal abortion law in the nation.
Amid much applause and with the stroke of a pen, Cuomo that day proudly decriminalized New York State law that made it illegal for doctors and medical personnel to perform abortions on women past 24-weeks of pregnancy. His support of the new law meant that abortion could now be performed in his state at any stage of the pregnancy, and for any reason. A pregnant woman wanting an abortion needed only to find a doctor who would state that her physical or mental health would be impaired by the birth of her child.
Many Americans were horrified by Cuomo’s lifting of all abortion restrictions in his state. The new law went beyond the liberties granted in the case decision as codified in the landmark Roe v. Wade case. Within days, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam made it a one-two punch and took the spotlight off Cuomo by endorsing infanticide as he championed a similar law for his state: Speaking of cases where a baby might be born with a disability or other defect, Northam said: ‘If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. . . . The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.’
The coronavirus pandemic, with its equal-opportunity nature spreading and striking at Americans nationwide, should change the hearts of pro-abortionist politicians. They now have to make the case for the value of human life. As of March 25, 2020, New York was leading the nation in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths. Governor Cuomo reported 199 dead in New York City and 30,000 infected across the state. Think about this: given the population of New York State at 19.5 million, the number of deaths there pale in comparison to the devastation caused by its abortion rate.
According to Planned Parenthood’s Guttmacher Institute, New York has also led the nation in the number of abortions. More than 105,000 abortions were performed in the state in 2017, representing 12.2 percent of all abortions in America. The state had 252 facilities offering abortions. In a 2018 op-ed, Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Reilly wrote:
“In New York City, thousands more black babies are aborted than born alive each year, and the abortion rate among black mothers is more than three times higher than it is for white mothers. According to a city Health Department report released in May, between 2012 and 2016 black mothers terminated 136,426 pregnancies and gave birth to 118,127 babies.”
Perhaps life becomes more precious when your own life or those you care about is at stake.
In seeking to encourage New Yorkers, Cuomo gave a heartfelt statement that could have far-reaching implications. That’s only so, however, if he applies this newly-expressed concern for the sanctity of life to all healthcare situations affecting his state and the rest of the nation. He said:
“New York loves all of you. Black and white and brown and Asian and short and tall and gay and straight. New York loves everyone. That’s why I love New York. It always has, it always will.”
There are challenges ahead. Governor Cuomo must deal with a shortage of ventilators and the uncertainty we all face about the course of the disease. Undoubtedly, there will be a need for rationing. What will be the criteria for getting one’s needs met? Will it be first-come, first-served? Will the sickest people regardless of age and mental handicap get their needs met? We don’t know the answer.
We do know that the governor of New York now recognizes the value of human life. He is being praised as presidential material. I would not be surprised if there is a move in place among Democrats to find a way to substitute Cuomo for Joe Biden as the presumptive Democrat Party’s presidential nominee.
It is a bit unsettling. New York: No. 1 in abortions, No. 1 in coronavirus deaths. As we look at the situation objectively, there is a need to make sure that decisions about who gets what is balanced against the needs of Americans in other states. Coronavirus cases are fewer in those other 49 states, but the potential lives saved from having enough ventilators in those states is every bit as sacred as it is for New York.
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Carol M. Swain is a former tenured professor at Vanderbilt and Princeton universities. Her Be The People News blog and podcast empower individuals to think independently, understand their responsibilities, and make a difference in the world.
Photo “Andrew Cuomo” by Andrew Cuomo.