The New York State Catholic Conference and the Diocese of Rockville Centre recently turned to video-sharing Web site YouTube.com to help them educate the state’s Catholics about Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s proposed Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act.
In a video posted on YouTube Feb. 14, Kathleen Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the Catholic Conference, explains the history of abortion in New York state, the progress pro-life activists have made throughout the years, and the consequences of Spitzer’s proposed bill, which most likely would destroy that progress. Click here to watch the video.
The bill, commonly referred to as RHAPP, would authorize nonphysicians — including nurses, midwives, podiatrists and chiropractors — to perform abortions, Gallagher explained in the video. It would lift the current age restrictions on over-the-counter sales of the so-called “morning-after pill” and make abortion immune to state regulations regarding parental notification of minors and taxpayer funding of abortions, she added.
“This bill would endanger the health of women as well as the lives of their unborn children,” Gallagher said.
If the bill is passed, she continued, abortion would be considered a fundamental right in New York state, meaning that doctors could be forced to perform abortions, and hospitals — even Catholic ones — could be forced to permit abortions in their facilities. The bill also could force health-insurance plans to cover abortions and force employers to purchase abortion coverage.
RHAPP could allow state regulatory agencies to deny licenses to physicians and hospitals who don’t perform abortions or permit them in their facilities, Gallagher said.
“In other words, perform abortions or the state shuts you down,” she remarked.
Through the video, Gallagher implores viewers to take immediate action against the bill.
“Gov. Spitzer’s bill is not pro-choice. It eliminates choice. It will not make abortion rare. It demands societal approval of abortion,” Gallagher said. “We must work together to stop the Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act.”
Gallagher encouraged viewers to visit the Catholic Conference’s Web site to learn more about the bill. The Web site also contains contact information for state legislators and tools to help Catholics make their voices heard, she said.
The nearly 10-minute-long video is a shortened version of a video Gallagher and Msgr. Francis Maniscalco, director of the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s Respect Life Office, produced, recorded on DVD and distributed throughout the state last month. Msgr. Maniscalco and Joe Perrone of the Long Island Diocese’s Telecare television station uploaded the shortened video to YouTube, according to Dennis Poust, communications director for the Catholic conference.
Catholics in the Diocese of Rochester have already begun to voice their opposition to the RHAPP bill. More than 100 people demonstrated outside Rochester’s First Unitarian Church Jan. 22 when Silda Wall Spitzer visited to promote her husband’s proposal.
Jann Armantrout, life-issues coordinator for the Rochester Diocese, will visit St. Mary Parish, 25 Center St. in Waterloo, at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 to discuss the impact RHAPP would have on unborn children, parents and Catholic hospitals. According to promotional materials, Catholics attending this “Lenten Learning” program will receive information on how they can take action to prevent the bill’s passage.