A frequent contributor to the newspaper “Letters to the Editor” section, Town of Alabama farmer Sam Scarborough took to the spoken word at the Batavia City Council meeting Monday night to express his opposition to the New York Reproductive Health Act.
The RHA, which expands abortion rights in the state, was passed into law in January. Provisions of the measure include permitting abortions after 24 weeks if the fetus is not viable or the health of the mother is at risk. It also allows trained medical professionals, not only doctors, to perform abortions.
The law prompted hundreds of people – mostly pro-life advocates -- to attend recent City Council meetings and sparked an emotional debate on both sides of the abortion issue.
Ultimately, Council members decided against sending a letter drafted by Council Member Rose Mary Christian in opposition to the law to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, instead calling for residents to send individual letters to Albany.
Last night, Scarborough, who said he was unable to make the previous Council meetings, noted that 95 of the state’s 102 Democrats in the Assembly and 38 of 39 Democrats in the Senate voted in favor of the law.
“It is disgusting that one of the first things they did after taking over power was to make sure abortion is legal in this state all the way to birth,” he said. “Aborting after that (24 weeks) is basically killing a baby that would live (on its own).”
Scarborough stated he was a registered Republican who was “proud” of the fact that no members of his party voted for the law. He then wondered aloud if “that is what the vast majority of the Democratic party stands for we need to remove those who voted for this as soon as possible …”
He then quoted II Chronicles 16:9 from the Bible and thanked Christian for taking a stand, to which she replied, “Thank you.”
Council President Eugene Jankowski responded to Scarborough’s comments by mentioning that he spoke with Congressman Chris Collins at a function in Niagara Falls last Saturday and said that Collins “agreed that this is out of control.”
Jankowski said that Collins told him that bills are being introduced to protect the unborn but “they just blow them off.” However, Collins said, they (Republicans) don’t intend to stop.
Collins said that the best way to get a lawmaker to take notice is to show up at his or her office.
“When there’s 50 or 60 people on a bus and they all want to talk to their congressperson, it makes them very nervous,” Jankowski said. “Some of them sneak out the back door. Some of them will speak with the people. That’s how to get their attention.”
Christian reported that a Right to Life march is scheduled for May 1 in Albany, and that she is attempting to organize one for this area.