By Emily Drooby
On Tuesday night, heartbroken parishioners gathered at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a prayer vigil and mass for life.
At the same time, in Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo was signing the Reproductive Health Act into law.
The bill, which was passed in the Democrat led State Senate on the 46th anniversary of Row v Wade, ends most restrictions on abortion. Those attending Tuesday’s vigil and mass were concerned about what the new legislation will mean; like BettyAnne McDonough of Forest Hills, who said she was, “Angry and disappointed, in people who talk out of both side of their mouth, they’ll tell you they know how you feel, they don’t care how I feel.”
The bill strips abortion from the state’s criminal code, expands who can perform the procedure and makes it legal to perform abortions, even during the third trimester in some cases.
The Sisters of Life, whose missions include supporting pregnant women, and helping women heal after abortion, and the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal attended the prayer vigil and mass for life. Sister Virginia Joy said while she’s saddened by the new law, she’s also encouraged by the vigil’s big turnout, explaining, “It helps us realize that not everybody in New York is as hostile to life that the legislators and the Governor wants us to believe…I think it’s really uplifting, this is the only appropriate response is prayer, to come before the Lord begging mercy.”
A sentiment echoed by attendees like Anne Feely, who said, “It’s good to see this many people out for the mass tonight and that they have different feelings, and hopefully we can change the culture.”
The new legislation goes beyond the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision and makes abortion permanent in New York State Law. Many believe the Roe ruling could eventually be overturned because of a now conservative leaning Supreme Court and a President who is openly anti-abortion.