Dear Governor Cuomo,
On January 17, you waged an attack against political conservatives, including those “who are right-to-life,” and declared that “if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” Do you honestly believe that a New Yorker must agree with you politically in order to be a true New Yorker?
The views you refer to have been held by some of our state’s most distinguished residents. They include Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who are among our nation’s most celebrated champions of human rights. They also include Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt, who are among our nation’s greatest leaders. All of these distinguished figures lived in New York State and were laid to rest in New York State. Do you feel they have no place in our state? How about Hugh Carey, the respected Democrat whom your father succeeded as governor?
So many of our residents subscribe to these views out of concern for the most vulnerable at the start of their lives and out of the belief that women deserve better than to have unfettered abortion confused with their personal dignity. Whether or not you agree with them, do you maintain they are not true New Yorkers?
Nearly 30 years ago, your father invoked his “personal view” while trying to explain his opposition to the pro-life position. In the intervening years, we have often heard pro-choice political leaders such as President Clinton claim that abortion should be “rare.” We seldom hear this anymore as the sheer numbers are giving our state a reputation as the abortion capital of America, a trend you encourage with your push to eliminate even the pretense of any limits on late-term abortions. Those who are moved to offer compassionate alternatives and resources to women through crisis pregnancy centers face the specter of thinly veiled efforts to shut them down—including legislation sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney and promises by the new Mayor of New York City. Somehow, even the personal views of our residents are now being threatened by coercive policies and mean-spirited remarks by our governor. How illiberal.
On January 22, many of the lifelong and proud New Yorkers whom you singled out traveled to Washington to express their freedom of speech by taking a stand on behalf of the unborn at the annual March for Life. Many of them found your comments to be personally offensive. Many more New Yorkers are tired of rhetoric that advances a toxic political environment that makes their neighbors feel as if they're not welcome in their own home state. Your words advanced this type of climate. For the above reasons, I ask whether you would be willing to meet with representatives of the pro-life community to assure them that despite your political disagreements, all New Yorkers are appreciated in their home state.