Cardinal Dolan offers help to pregnant women, says there are alternatives to abortion

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Cardinal Timothy Dolan is changing his tone about New York state's new Reproductive Health Act, reaching out to pregnant women and saying there's been enough debate about politics and legislation.

Now, he wants to make sure troubled expectant mothers know there are resources available to them and other alternatives to abortion.

"Any woman feeling a difficult pregnancy and tempted to an abortion is assured of a warm welcome, encouragement and loving support," he said.

Dolan's message was that there's no need to worry or stress, or to terminate a pregnancy, because the Archdiocese of New York will take care of you.

"Sadly, as you all know because you've covered it, abortion has been very much in the news lately," he said. "And it sometimes seems as if each day brings a further attack on the rights and dignity of all human life."

The announcement came after the state passed a law ensuring women right to an abortion if the Supreme Court would ever overturn Roe v. Wade and -- when the life or health of the mother is threatened -- would allow for a late term abortion.

"We're saying here in New York, women's lives matter," Senate Majority Leader Andrea Steward-Cousins said. "We're saying here in New York, women's decisions matter."

Cardinal Dolan has been at odds with Governor Andrew Cuomo, who had been pushing the legislation since 2007.

"We had to pass this law to protect our state," Cuomo said. "And that's why I believe we have to take it a step further and do a constitutional amendment."

But now that the law has passed, Dolan is appealing directly to expectant mothers to let them know there is help both before and after their child is born.

"No matter the hurt, the frustration or even anger we may feel at the passage of the recent abortion expansion bill, we should not respond with bitterness or divisions," he said. "But put our faith and trust in the lord and reach out with love to troubled moms and their expectant babies."

The support being offered by the archdiocese is open to all women, regardless of religious affiliation, marital or immigration status.

Governor Cuomo's office pointed out the state offers many services to eligible pregnant women or households, and that public assistance can include SNAP benefits, cash assistance, assistance with rent, and assistance heating expenses.

"The Reproductive Health Act codifies the protections already guaranteed under Roe v Wade and subsequent court decisions into New York State law," a spokesperson said in a statement. "Nothing more and nothing less."

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