Saturday, May 26, 2012

40 years ago: New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller vetoes anti-abortion bill

On May 13, 1972, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, who, two years earlier, had signed the most liberal abortion bill in the United States, vetoed a bill that had passed the state’s assembly and senate, repealing the law that permitted elective abortions through the 24th week of pregnancy. Mr. Rockefeller denounced the way in which backers of the repeal bill exerted pressure in an election year, and said he could see “no justification” for condemning women to “the dark ages” again. He stated in his veto message, "I do not believe it right for one group to impose its vision of morality on an entire society." Of course, Mr. Rockefeller was ignoring that it was two "groups"--the upper and lower houses of the New York state legislature--who had passed the law, and that he was, as an individual, imposing his vision of morality on an entire society by vetoing the bill.

Eight days earlier, U.S. President Richard Nixon, charging that several key suggestions by his Commission on Population Growth and the American Future “would do nothing to preserve and strengthen close family relationships,” had rejected such measures as abortion on demand, unrestricted distribution of family-planning services, and making contraceptive devices available to minors. The following day, a letter from Mr. Richard Nixon to Terence Cardinal Cooke, Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, was released, showing that the president backed Cardinal Cooke’s stand against abortion on demand. Two years earlier, New York had passed the U.S.A.’s most liberal abortion law, permitting elective abortions through the 24th week of pregnancy.

State laws against abortion became a moot point on January 22, 1973 with the Supreme Court of the United States', decision in the Roe v. Wade case, which had the effect of permitting abortions for any reason at any point of pregnancy, resulting in the destruction of millions of innocent lives. Nelson Rockefeller was well-known as a womanizer, and it's no coincidence that men who behave in this way have a history of supporting abortion as a way of avoiding the consequences of their actions. Nelson Rockefeller died under suspicious and embarrassing circumstances on January 26, 1979, suffering a fatal heart attack while in an "intimate" position working on an art book with aide Megan Marshack.

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