Area Catholics Gear Up for Fight over Abortion

January 26, 2013 Updated Jan 26, 2013 at 12:34 AM EDT

By Allen Leight

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January 26, 2013 Updated Jan 26, 2013 at 12:34 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - 40-years after the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, a number of Western New Yorkers took center stage in the fight to overturn it.

Groups of teens and students from area Catholic schools led Friday's annual March for Life parade in Washington, D.C. Also in attendance were members of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese, including Bishop Richard Malone.

"It's always very sobering on this 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade that there have been 55 million unborn lives exterminated in this country for no reason," said Bishop Malone after returning to Buffalo Friday evening.

The Catholic Church is already engrossed in an on-going battle with the Federal government over a mandate in the new health care law forcing religious institutions to provide insurance that covers contraception and abortion-inducing medicines. Now, Bishop Malone says there is another battle brewing, this time in Albany over part of Governor Cuomo's Women's Equality Act.

"Wrapped into that is this most radical, extreme abortion bill," said Bishop Malone.

The Bishop is referring to the Reproductive Health Act, which would make abortion a 'fundamental right' in New York State.

The law would strip away regulations on late-term abortions, the need for informed consent and parental notification as well as limits in government funding of abortion. It would also redefine when pregnancy begins.

Bishop Malone explains that, "A Catholic hospital will not, for example, get involved in doing abortions. We cannot do it. We consider it a grave violation of our moral standards."

He says the law could force the closure of some Catholic hospitals, saying, "that would be tragic, but we would have to face that."

Bishop Malone is now calling on all area Catholics to have their voices be heard in Albany.

"I really want to call upon Catholics and others in western New York to pay attention to this issue and be in touch with the Governor and legislators," said the Bishop.

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