On abortion, I will always advocate for life

October 6, 2022

The Journal News

By Michael V. Lawler

American politics can get ugly. Candidate positions are so often misconstrued by opponents that it’s vitally important to get the truth out to voters in every way possible.

In my race for Congress in New York 17th District — all or parts of Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties — I’ve been amazed, for example, by how much my position on abortion has been misrepresented, and I use that word generously, by my opponent. I barely recognize myself in the mailers and television ads being used against me.

Let me be clear: I am personally pro-life, while also supporting the right to an abortion in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in jeopardy. For the record, I’m also opposed to a federal ban on abortion and would vote against one.

My support for life was reaffirmed for me when my wife and I experienced a miscarriage in 2020. Thankfully, we were blessed with a healthy baby girl this year.

I recognize that abortion has always been a lightning-rod issue in this country, and June’s Supreme Court Decision overturning Roe v. Wade brought it back to the forefront in many states across America.

The decision changes nothing in New York, though. Abortion was made legal here in 1970, under a Republican governor and a Republican-led state senate and assembly, interestingly, and our laws have only moved leftward since. Too far left, in my opinion.

In 2019, New York went all the way, allowing abortions right up until the moment of birth for virtually any reason — something I vehemently oppose — aligning itself with nations like China and North Korea, where abortions are used as a form of population control and gender selection. Most European countries, in contrast, allow abortions only in the first trimester.  

New York prohibits parents from being notified if their minor daughter seeks an abortion — and also allows non doctors to perform abortions, which effectively means that many low-income New Yorkers receive abortions from non-physicians today. Wherever one stands on the abortion issue, that doesn’t seem fair.

While I don’t agree with New York’s radical abortion laws, I do respect the will of the state’s voters whom the Supreme Court have given exclusive jurisdiction over the abortion issue. New York is a strongly pro-choice state. I get it.

One thing we all can agree on, hopefully, is that New York needs to do more to help vulnerable young women and families make the best decisions for themselves when pregnancies occur. I will always advocate for life, but I will never stand in judgment.

No one wants an abortion, and I sympathize with anyone struggling to make that choice.

As we move forward, there needs to be a more civilized discussion around this important issue, and a respect for differing viewpoints. If I am fortunate enough to be elected your congressman, I look forward to being part of that discussion and will pledge to always keep an open mind and open heart.

Assemblyman Michael V. Lawler is the Republican and Conservaitve Party nominee for Congress in New York’s 17th District, which includes all or parts of Rockland, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties.