In the past week, two diametrically opposed bills were introduced in Idaho and New York. If passed, the Idaho Abortion Human Rights Act would effectively end abortion in the state. The New York Senate passed the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) on the forty-sixth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, making abortion legal until birth. While New York has never been known as the epicenter of morality in the United States, this bill and its subsequent celebration are particularly heartbreaking.
From the pro-life perspective, it is difficult to understand how a law like the one in New York could be passed. Especially towards the end of pregnancy, the only difference between a baby inside or outside of the womb is his or her location. Is this difference really a sufficient reason to end the life of a child? Even though RHA belies the meaning of reproductive health, ninety-two members of the state assembly and thirty-eight members of the New York State Senate voted in favor of the RHA. From their perspective, the increase of abortion access is a social good.
Controversy over abortion is not unique to the issue itself. Instead, some degree of tension is inherent within the current bipartisan political system of the United States. As soon as two sides define themselves in opposition to each other, both feel threatened. It could be that New York legislators felt that they needed to protect access to abortion in anticipation over the possibility that Roe v. Wade might be overturned. If this is part of the reasoning behind RHA, then the pro-life movement should be encouraged that eliminating abortion may be within reach.
It is amazing in some ways that there could be two such different pieces of legislation in the same country. Thankfully, New York’s law will not govern Idaho. The World Trade Center may be lit up in pink to celebrate RHA, but the argument over abortion is far from over.