Rob Astorino on Abortion
State records show few New Yorkers seek abortions as late as the ninth month of pregnancy. Of 97,502 abortions in New York in 2012, just 2.6 percent came after the fifth month of pregnancy, according to the state Health Department.
Astorino last week called Cuomo's proposal to protect ninth-month abortions "sick, I think that's ghastly. . . . I would veto that in a second." But he said he wouldn't try to erode current abortion laws. "I'm pro-life. This is a pro-choice state. I get that," Astorino said in a March news conference in Buffalo. "What I will not do is expand abortion up to birth, which is what Governor Cuomo's bill would do."
But Astorino, in his capacity as a county official, hasn't had many chances to take action on abortion-related issues while he's been in office. Astorino, a practicing Catholic, has previously said he opposes abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or if a woman's life is in danger. In previous elections he's also taken pains to avoid discussing the subject, pivoting toward discussions of the economy or taxes, and calling the issue "hyper-partisan" and "divisive."
When asked to clarify whether or not he would specifically seek to curtail funding for abortions, Astorino said no. "Abortion in this state has been legal for 44 years," he said. "Legal abortion in New York is "not going anywhere."
Asked whether he philosophically opposes spending state money on abortions, Astorino said yes, but wouldn't say whether he'd seek to cut such spending. Astorino did not state the parameters of his own position on abortion, but said he opposes Cuomo's Women's Equality Act, which would allow for increased access to third-trimester abortions. Astorino equated the bill to legalizing "infanticide."