Proposed New York legislation will affect state’s culture of life - Catholic Courier

Proposed New York legislation will affect state’s culture of life

In the 2023 legislative session, New York’s lawmakers will consider several pieces of proposed legislation that, if passed, would affect the culture of life in the state.

Some of these, such as a bill that would legalize physician-assisted suicide, are contrary to the Catholic Church’s teaching that life is sacred from the moment of conception until natural death. Others, such as a bill that would mandate Medicaid coverage of hospital stays for mothers — and their newborns — after childbirth, have the support of the New York State Catholic Conference, which represents the state’s bishops in public-policy matters.

The Catholic conference, via its Catholic Action Network, will be asking the state’s Catholics to take action on a number of these proposed bills throughout the course of the legislative session. Currently, the Catholic conference is encouraging New York’s Catholics to voice their opposition to A995/S2445, the proposed assisted-suicide legislation. If passed, this legislation would allow physicians to prescribe lethal doses of medication in order to end patients’ lives.

Catholic conference says assisted suicide devalues life

The Catholic conference opposes the proposed assisted-suicide legislation for many reasons, according to a Feb. 1 memo of opposition.

“Implementing assisted suicide as an accepted medical ‘treatment’ sends the message that our most vulnerable populations are not worth the resources it might take to improve their lives. Those most at risk of being taken advantage of and discarded by the health system will be endangered further,” the Catholic conference stated in the memo.

Legalizing assisted suicide also perches New York state at the top of a slippery slope, according to the Catholic conference. The language of the proposed legislation states that only patients suffering from terminal illnesses would be qualified to ask for life-ending medications, yet similar laws passed in other countries were later changed to include patients not facing terminal illness.

Legalizing assisted suicide, “even with so-called safeguards, devalues human life,” the Catholic conference stated. Instead, the conference would prefer to see the state improve access to palliative and hospice care for patients in the final stages of palliative care and hospice care.

Catholic conference opposes other proposed legislation

The Catholic conference opposes these other bills:

A1135/S568, which adds “embryo” to the definition of “tissue” for purposes of tissue storage. This definition already includes such body parts as human eyes, skin, bones and heart valves.

“While protecting human embryos is a laudable goal, one which this bill purports to accomplish by regulating tissue banks, this legislation further dehumanizes nascent human lives by categorizing them as mere ‘tissue,’” the Catholic conference stated in a Jan. 23 memo of opposition to the bill.

A1283/S108A, which would amend the state’s constitution to include “reproductive healthcare and autonomy” among the classes of people protected from discrimination.

“While we strongly agree with the goal of protecting all human beings from unjust discrimination, we oppose this legislation as it seeks to enshrine the right to abortion in the New York State Constitution,” the Catholic conference stated in a Jan. 23 memo of opposition to the bill.

S348B/A361A, which would establish a grant program to provide funding to abortion providers as well as nonprofit organizations in order to increase access to abortion.

“The New York Legislature continues to present abortion as the only solution to a crisis pregnancy,” the Catholic conference stated in a Jan. 23 memo of opposition. “Instead of focusing on supporting families, women and children, they are intent on pouring as much money as possible into encouraging women to abort their babies.”

Several proposed bills support pregnant women, families

The Catholic conference has expressed support for three pieces of proposed legislation:

S01241, which would mandate Medicaid coverage of hospital stays for new mothers and their newborns after childbirth.

“We believe that to deny low-income moms dependent on the Medicaid system the same essential benefits afforded to mothers with private insurance is simply unjust,” the Catholic conference wrote in a Feb. 1 memo of support for the bill.

S1159, which would require written notice to be provided to pregnant women, detailing the possibility and rates of false positives resulting from prenatal testing for various conditions.

“Women need support, care and resources to safely carry their babies to term. They should never be pushed to life-altering, destructive decisions by misleading or incorrect prenatal test results,” the Catholic conference wrote in a Feb. 1 memo of support.

S2175, which would provide paid family leave for employees following the birth of a stillborn child.

“Mothers and fathers who lose a child to stillbirth need time to heal, both physically and emotionally, and time to grieve the loss of their child,” the Catholic conference stated in a Feb. 1 memo of support.

Tags: Abortion, Health, Life Issues, NY Catholics
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