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Feedback 9/12

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The facts about impeachment

In his Feedback letter "Impeachment? Not Now," David Hennelly has his facts wrong. Impeachment is one of "The rules of the game all agreed to abide by."

Hennelly is also wrong when he writes that when Richard Nixon faced impeachment, "The significant drag was the very long and inconclusive Vietnam War." Nixon faced impeachment because the burglars, who were caught when they broke into the Democratic National Committee's office in the Watergate complex in Washington, were members of Richard Nixon's reelection campaign.

And last but not least, Hennelly is wrong when he writes that an "unelected cabal" would decide whether Donald Trump should be removed from office. The members of Congress and the Senate vote for impeachment, not an "unelected cabal."

THOMAS MANGAN

New York's abortion laws

As Jeremy Moule recently outlined ("Advocates, Lawmakers Push for Abortion Law Vote"), the Reproductive Health Act again failed to become law in New York State, despite its passage multiple times in the Assembly. The RHA potentially harms and exploits women and completely ignores the existence of unborn human life. Unlike the Assembly, the Senate understands the implications of the RHA.

While Governor Cuomo, pro-choice groups, and others are clamoring to enact the RHA , even calling upon the Senate to return to Albany to pass it, their cries ring hollow, as they should. They fear an overturned Roe vs. Wade and claim that New York State's abortion law desperately needs modernizing, to move from the penal to the public health law. They think the RHA will solve their dilemma.

But as Moule highlighted, since 1970 abortion has been statutorily legal in New York State for any reason through 24 weeks of pregnancy. New York is ahead of the curve regarding liberal abortion laws, except for the lack of a broad heath exception for late-term abortions. Broad health exceptions, which include mental, economic, and familial health, essentially allow women to abort fully viable "fetuses" – aka unborn children – for any reason. The RHA contains a broad health exception. Modern US Supreme Court decisions post-Roe, however, refrain from requiring a broad health exception in bans on late-term abortion.

The RHA more than simply codifies Roe. The bill glosses over and disregards post-Roe constitutional law allowing states to enact abortion laws protecting women's health and unborn human life, and fundamental standards, including those requiring that licensed physicians perform abortions, wait periods between the abortion decision and the procedure, and parental notification where minors seek abortions.

The RHA does not require any wait periods or parental involvement. Rather, it allows non-physicians to perform surgical abortions up through the ninth month of pregnancy. According to polling data released by the Chiaroscuro Foundation, 75 percent of New Yorkers disagree with changing the law so that non-doctors can perform surgical abortions, 78 percent support a 24-hour wait period, and 76 percent agree that parents should be notified when minors seek abortions.

Lastly, the RHA completely severs abortion from the penal code. This general removal, however, potentially re-victimizes victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence by depriving victims of opportunities to hold their abusers criminally accountable for coerced abortions. Studies show both categories of females experience coerced abortions. Rather than 'liberate' women, the RHA restrains women and negates the existence of unborn human life throughout pregnancy. Senate Republicans, along with Senate Democrat Simcha Felder, clearly comprehend the fallacy of the RHA. 

MICHELE STERLACE-ACCORSI

Sterlace-Accorsi is executive director of Feminists Choosing Life of New York

The press and democracy

We have all read the catch phrase "Life is not a spectator sport." Never before have we had more opportunities to make life just that. We love the drama as it plays out on screens held in our palms, on our walls. It is well packaged to please the buyer, safely, at a distance. As the debacle of by-product reality TV plays out before us in real time, we snuggle down inside our lives, and some of us become complacent.

This is the point at which we awaken, splash cold water on our faces, and come to the realization that being steeped in and desensitized to all of the vitriol is rotting our sense of reason and good judgment. Insidious and blissfully complacent, we become complicit. All of us must rise to this occasion and opportunity to be defenders of the free and democratic society we were born into. A free and open press is of the utmost importance to ensure our democracy survives and again, someday soon, thrives.

JOHN VAN LARE

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