BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The New York State Reproductive Health Act was signed into law in January 2019 but it still remains controversial.
Supporters of the new law cheered it as a milestone moment for women's healthcare because it updated NYS's abortion laws, allowed more providers to perform abortions, and put the abortion decision into the hands of the woman and her doctor.
"One of the things this did is recognize that abortion is healthcare and not a crime," said Debora McDell-Hernandez from Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York.
However, there are still many people strongly opposed to the new law because they believe it opens the door to third-trimester abortions, allows non-doctors to perform the procedure, and removes legal protections for the unborn.
"We just have to keep fighting for what is right until the rest of the culture catches up," said Rev. Jason McQuire, from New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms.
A provision in the new law that allows doctors to perform abortions when the mother's health is affected, or the viability of the unborn child is in question, is a provision that many critical of the law cite as problematic.
"When the Reproductive Health Act, Governor Cuomo's abortion expansion act, passed in January, it caused an awakening across New York State. Today, you are seeing that cropping up in Buffalo," commented Jason McQuire.
During a noontime press conference, representatives from over 60+ WNY churches gathered to announce they are uniting efforts to repeal the Reproductive Health Act (RHA).
"We can no longer remain silent. We must speak out against this horrible evil," added Rev. William Gillison, at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Buffalo, where the press conference was held.
The church coalition plans to begin circulating petitions calling for the RHA to be completely repealed.
The group admits that it is still early in its development, but plans to move forward and develop other strategies for repeal of the controversial abortion law.
"For me, this is a day in history. One that has been a long time in coming," added Cheryl Calire, from the Diocese of Buffalo Office of Pro-Life Activities.
In addition to lobbying for repeal, the church coalition said it plans to work in unison to better promote programs, like the Mother Teresa Home in Buffalo, that provide resources to help pregnant mothers in crisis to avoid abortion and keep their babies.
Many participating members in the church coalition signed a statement of "person-hood" which objects to lawmakers redefining person-hood because the group believes it is "arbitrary at best and mercenary at worst."