Andrew Cuomo at the lead of the NYC 2018 March For Our Lives rally (cropped). Some lives matter, others don't. By Er-nay. CC via Wikimedia
The loyalties that divide us here in the United States are reaching a breaking point after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the most pro-choice legislation in American history. The law makes late-term abortions available for almost any health reason, allows health providers other than doctors to perform abortions, and decriminalizes abortion from the penal code. For example, no charges can be made against an abusive partner who intends and causes the miscarriage of an unborn child in an expectant mother.
In 1984 Andrew’s father, New York Democrat Governor Mario Cuomo, publicly reasoned over the abortion issue in an oft-cited speech at the University of Notre Dame. Early in his address, Mario tells the humorous story of his predecessor, Governor Al Smith, being conflicted over his obligations to sit with the home Army football team from West Point N.Y. as they played against the visiting University of Notre Dame, the spiritual home of his Irish Catholic identity.
The analogy was a masterful framing of the divided loyalties Mario was struggling with between fidelity to the pro-life teachings of his Catholic faith and the abortion rights position of his Democratic Party. For Mario, these competing allegiances made for hard choices.
After all, Cardinal John O’Connor had threatened excommunication of any Catholic politician who supported abortion rights. So, speaking in this grandest of Catholic venues, Mario explained how politicians like him could personally oppose abortion and still publicly support the right of a woman to have an abortion.
Thus, it came to pass that Mario was not excommunicated by the Church. Many Catholic pro-choice politicians seized on Mario’s soul-searching moment and divided their loyalties too. But, not all. Catholic Democratic Senator Patrick Moynihan, who represented New York from 1977 to 2001, pointed out the incoherence of the pro-choice argument, even publicly naming the late-term abortions, like Andrew’s new law permits tantamount to infanticide.
Last week, New York Cardinal Dolan called the new abortion law “hideous” but declined to excommunicate Andrew and those Catholic politicians who voted for unfettered abortion rights.
Instead, the Democratic Party is threatening excommunication. Members who fail to support the party’s radical anti-life position are seen as untrustworthy and an “existential threat”. And it is Mario’s son, Andrew, who leads the assault on any opposition, using the convoluted logic that “I’m not here to legislate religion” as if the abortion issue is a matter of faith and not real science.
From Mario’s moral confusion to Andrew’s political psychopathy, the loss of faith and reason required to render undivided loyalty to the Democratic Party is the real legacy the father left to the son.
Contrary to the delirious absolutism on display by celebrating Democrat legislators who lit up the New York City Freedom Tower in pink—it might as well have been blood red—those of us in the pro-life movement must reexamine our loyalties and reason through a different set of hard choices. Have we sufficiently examined our own loyalties and chosen to put the unborn child before any political consideration? Have we sufficiently removed our financial support for any organization or business that supports pro-abortion policies? Have we sufficiently engaged the opposition in vigorous reasoned debate and peaceful protest?
Given the horrors this new abortion law permits, we must decide in the name of reason, if not faith, to stop dividing our loyalties.
Peter C. DeMarco is an executive leadership coach and ethics educator from Canandaigua, New York