As some of the cooler heads have pointed out, the practical effect of New York’s new and improved abortion regime is basically nil. But ideologically it has a lot of oompf.
How so? New York “liberalized” its abortion law in 1970, three years before the SCOTUS weighed in saying that the constitutional due process “right to privacy” was “broad” enough to encompass, you know, abortion. How did New York do that? Not by saying that abortion was a “right”, or that the human unborn was not a “person”; but rather by saying that any abortion taking place within the first six months of pregnancy was a “justifiable abortional act”. That is to say, or at least strongly imply, that abortion itself was wrong, and would be criminal, but in what became any reason or no reason for a period of time it was “justifiable”, justification also being a criminal law concept described in Article 35 of New York’s Penal Law.
The ideological problem? Abortion remained a conceptual wrong, the subject of several statutes in the Penal Law in Article 125, which was itself entitled “Homicide, Abortion and Related Offenses”.
How terribly uncomfortable and irksome for one side in the abortion wars.
Fortunately for that one side, in the almost 50 years that have passed since 1970, this curious implied commentary on the nature of abortion, still codified in New York’s Penal Law, has never, to our knowledge, been mentioned in the press, and indeed in all the blather about this recent change in the law has not been mentioned either. Apparently it has been unmentionable. And accordingly that one side has never had to confront the implications of what no one can, after all, speak.
And now they surely won’t have to. The objectionable thought has been purged from the law of New York. The long-standing oversight from the early days of our reproductive revolutionary zeal has finally been corrected, an intellectual irritant flushed down the collective memory hole where it will no longer trouble us.
That is all the change in the law was about. It’s to show there’s no going back.