New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo will likely run for President in 2016. His favorability ratings are at record highs, he’s led some of the most productive legislative sessions in New York state history and he can deliver an impressive speech – a not so unimportant skill in this day and age.
At this point it’s impossible to tell if he’ll win, but like his father Mario (the Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994) he identifies as a Catholic. Just not the kind that thinks it’s important to live out their faith in public. Or in private for that matter, seeing how he and his first wife Kerry Kennedy divorced in 2005 and he currently shares a home with his live-in girlfriend.
In 2011, Governor Cuomo signed a same-sex marriage bill into law. Now, he’s throwing his support behind legislation that would not only expand abortion access, but could put Catholic hospitals and state-funded ministries out of business.
According to Kathleen Gallagher, the director of pro-life activities for the New York Catholic Conference, Governor Cuomo’s proposed legislation would do away with “parental-notification laws, informed-consent laws, restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion bans of any kind.”
Although Cuomo says the reforms will help usher in a new era of women’s equality, Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York sees the bill in a different light.
In an interview with the National Catholic Register, Bishop Murphy argued that when Governor Cuomo says women should have an unfettered right to an abortion because “it’s their body,” he is “espousing a position that excludes God.”
How so? Bishop Murphy responds with a question: “Are we so sovereign over our individual bodies that God the Creator has nothing to do with how we use our bodies? How we respect them? How we care for them?” He continued by pointing out that…
…in a society where everyone’s dominion over his or her body is so absolute, can we ever recognize that there are social relationships without which we cannot achieve a fully human flourishing? We become monads with no intrinsic mutual responsibility to help protect and build up human dignity.
This may seem abstract, but it illustrates what is happening: A false premise, absolute control over my body with no reference to God or neighbor, leaves us each isolated from one another and thus at risk in society. Thus the governor — and any governor or president or political leader — has to step in and arbitrarily define the legal expansion or limits of human actions and human activities.
When asked about the challenges Catholics would face if Cuomo’s plan were to become law, Bishop Murphy responded by saying the following:
This [law] is, of course, a further blow at the freedom of religious practice and a further undermining of the principle of subsidiarity, which is under tremendous attack today.
Practically, it could mean the [state’s] ability to revoke operating certificates or withhold Medicaid dollars from our hospitals, of which this diocese has six on Long Island. There is the risk that the government could extend its control by finding any of our ministries, schools, charities, etc. discriminatory because we cannot support or make references to people to exercise this new “right.”
Programs that promote birth over abortion could be at risk. And, in keeping with my overall concern, it is another blow against a pro-life position, making that position officially “unacceptable” or “bigoted” or “intolerant,” a very strange fruit in our society, where the majority of Americans, however they define it, call themselves pro-life.
To read all of Bishop Murphy’s thoughts on Governor Cuomo’s sinister plan click here.