(WIVB) - A historic and controversial law protecting abortion laws have leaders of the Catholic Church thinking ahead.
The legislation was passed by the New York State Legislature, and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo just hours later on Tuesday. Cuomo says it protects rights won in the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court case.
Cheryl Calire is the Director of Pro-Life Services for the Diocese of Buffalo. She says it's now incumbent on the Church to show women that there are alternatives to abortion.
"(Tuesday) was a sad day," Calire said. "Not just for New York State, but I believe for the entire Church and for our entire country.
"I think we need to do a better job educating the public as to what this bill actually represents."
The bill brings state law into accordance with the Roe V. Wade ruling, in terms of when abortion is and isn't allowed 24 weeks after conception. The public health law in the Empire State now says abortion is allowed if there is a risk to the mother's life or health, or if the fetus isn't viable.
Western New York's lawmakers voted on party lines. Democrats voted in favor. Republicans voted against.
"To be in New York in the 2000s and hear people rubuff women's choice and women's voice was something that I don't think any of us could understand," said Senator Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. "Today we change that."
Calire wants to remind expecting mothers that the Church provides outreach through the Mother Teresa House on Stanislaus St. on Buffalo's East Side, as well as the St. Gianna Outreach Centers, which connect women to resources they need.
"Our whole purpose is to empower women, not to enable," Calire said. "While they're here, they have ongoing support wiht parents and all of the things they need to be a good mom."
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