Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, is firing back after Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) linked him to the “religious right” because the Catholic leader criticized the governor for signing into law the state’s radical abortion law.
In an opinion column for The New York Times, Cuomo set President Donald Trump “and the religious right” in his crosshairs, accusing them of “spreading falsehoods about New York’s law,” referring to the bill he signed last month.
The legislation expands access to late-term abortion by legalizing termination up to 24 weeks into pregnancy “or at any time when necessary to protect a woman’s life or health.”
“While Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and the Catholic Church are anti-choice, most Americans, including most Catholics, are pro-choice,” the governor wrote. “The 73 percent of New Yorkers who support Roe includes 59 percent of Catholics.”
Cuomo, who identifies as Catholic, went on to argue the government can pass laws “consistent with religious teachings,” but made clear the state does not pass legislation with the express purpose of being “consistent with what any particular religion dictates.”
In an unabashed response, Dolan went after the Democratic governor, urging Cuomo to “debate abortion for what it is” and not “hide behind labels like ‘right wing’ and ‘Catholic.’”
Dolan also rebuked Cuomo for picking and choosing when he’s friendly with him:
This is something new from the governor. He did not consider me part of the “religious right” when seeking my help with the minimum wage increase, prison reform, protection of migrant workers, a welcome of immigrants and refugees, and advocacy for college programs for the state’s inmate population, which we were happy to partner with him on, because they were our causes too. I guess I was part of the “religious left” in those cases.
Using the words of the late former Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey (D), Dolan argued the “civil rights of the helpless, innocent baby in the womb” is “not about ‘right versus left, but right versus wrong.’”
Several conservative Catholic leaders immediately called for Cuomo to be excommunicated from the church after he signed the Empire State’s latest abortion law.
As a result of the backlash, Cuomo claimed the Catholic Church “doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose,” arguing during a radio interview that, though he identifies as Catholic, he’s “not a Catholic governor.” Cuomo said he’s “just governor.”
“I’m here to represent all the people and the constitutional rights and privileges and limitations for all the people, not as a Catholic,” he added.