Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Leahy was on the newsmakers line by all-star panelist Dr. Carol Swain.
During the second hour, Swain described what inspired her to write her current op-ed regarding the governor of New York Andrew Cuomo’s newfound appreciation for the “sanctity of human life.” After much research, Swain admitted that she saw the conversation change from 2019 when he signed into law one of the most liberal abortion laws in the nation which went beyond Roe v. Wade.
Leahy: We are joined now by our good friend as we are every Thursday. All-star panelist and former Vanderbilt professor Carol Swain. Good morning Carol.
Swain: Good morning Michael. How have you been?
Leahy: Well (Laughs) I’ve been socially distant Carol. How about you?
Swain: I think that explains all of us. I think that covers all of us.
Leahy: Yes, it does. So, Carol, it’s very interesting how these things work. I always enjoy learning how different people think about consider what’s going on in the public arena. So yesterday you sent me a text message ,”Hey Mike I’m going to send you a commentary about Andrew Cuomo on coronavirus.” So it was very interesting to me.
And I just was wondering, gee what’s Carol going to say about Andrew Cuomo and coronavirus because he’s the governor of the state that is at the epicenter here. He has done I think, although I disagree with almost all of his political ideology I think he’s shown leadership in the coronavirus situation and has been very proactive in it.
So I thought well Carol, what are you going to have to say that is unique and interesting about Andrew Cuomo? Boy, do you have something unique to say about Andrew Cuomo. I’ll just read the headline and then you can elaborate on it a little bit. The headline, “How Coronavirus Showed Andrew Cuomo the Sanctity of Human Life” Wow! That is a spectacular concept, Carol. (Swain giggles) Why don’t you just describe that a little bit?
Swain: (Giggles) Andrew Cuomo has been all over the news and has shown himself to be the sharpest knife in the drawer of the national Democratic Party.
Leahy: No question about that. The guy is on top of his game. Whether you like him or not he is an intelligent guy. And you can see his brain working, and he’s action-oriented as the governor of New York. He’s really been on top of it in great detail and in a crisis situation. There’s no question about that.
Swain: Well, I can tell you that yesterday morning when I awakened it struck me that a year ago all over the news we were talking nonstop about New York’s abortion law. And how Governor Cuomo had signed into law the most liberal least restrictive abortion law in the land that even went beyond Roe v. Wade. So that was the conversation.
And then probably in the midst of this governor, Northam in Virginia came out with his comment about infanticide. So it struck me, hey a year ago we were having a different conversation and now we have Andrew Cuomo on the news talking about how every life is precious and how he was going to save all these lives.
And so that was how I got the spark of the idea to write the opinion piece. And the opinion piece looks at abortion in New York and has been and is number one in the nation when it comes to abortion. And it’s number one in corona deaths. And because of the sensitive nature of my topic, I had to discuss it very carefully.
And I’m going to take Andrew Cuomo at his word that he now recognizes the sanctity of human life. And, so I want to see that played out when it comes to the ventilators. And I’d like to see him be pro-life like I believe his father was.
Leahy: Let me just read the first couple of paragraphs of this because it’s a powerful op-ed. It’s one that is getting great attention. I thought so much of this commentary from you Carol that often we’ll just run a commentary in The Tennessee Star, but we have three other states where we have news operations.
And this was so good I ran it in Ohio at The Ohio Star. The Michigan Star. And The Minnesota Sun. And it’s getting quite a lot of “buzz” shall we say since we published it at midnight. Let me just read the first two paragraphs.
My mother is not expendable and your mother is not expendable. And our brothers and sisters are not expendable.
And we’re not going to accept the premise that human life is disposable. And we’re not going to put a dollar figure on human life. The first order of business is save lives. Whatever it costs. Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York. A Democrat. Where did you find that quote? It’s something that he said recently right?
Swain: (Chuckles) Because on the news I’ve watched him talk about human life. So, of course, I did research. I went back to January 23, 2019 when he signed the law and then I looked at what was happening January 23, 2020. And what I found was that New York was having its first few cases of coronavirus. And to his credit, Andrew Cuomo said that the disease needed to be taken very seriously.
He also said they were on top of it. I did not find any quotes from him attacking President Trump for steering flights from China to five airports that included Kennedy and screening passengers. I could not find anywhere that he had attacked the president or calling him xenophobic with his policy towards China.
Leahy: Yes. Let me continue in the next couple of paragraphs. Again, powerfully written. Powerfully written Carol.
Swain: That’s because I have people praying for me when I’m writing.
Leahy: Well good. So the next couple paragraphs from your excellent commentary.
New York Governor Cuomo’s powerful statement about the value human life that good can come out of the most unexpected circumstances including the coronavirus which has devastated New York.
His bold statement recognizing the sanctity of human life represents a sea change from his position on January 23, 2019, when he signed into law the most liberal abortion law in the nation. Amid much applause and with a stroke of a pen Cuomo that day proudly decriminalized New York state law that made it illegal for doctors and medical personnel to perform abortions on women past 24 weeks of pregnancy.
His support of the new law meant that abortion could now be performed in his state at any stage of the pregnancy and for any reason. A pregnant woman wanting an abortion only needs to find a doctor that would state that her physical or mental health would be impaired by the birth of her child.
Pretty powerful stuff there Carol.
Swain: Well, thank you.
Leahy: Let me fast-forward for a moment and let us move to a point in time in hopefully the near future when the pandemic has subsided. We don’t know exactly when that will be. Let’s say its six months from now and instead of March 26, it’s September 26.
Let’s say that you have secured an appointment with Governor Cuomo and you are in his office in Albany New York, and he’s agreed to have a conversation with you about abortion. What does that conversation look like Carol?
Swain: Now I hope that I’m remembering that his father Mario Cuomo was pro-life. I would remind him of the values of his father. And I would commend him for how well he handled the situation in New York. And I would let him know that there is no shame in changing your mind when you get new information.
President Trump changed his mind on abortion. At one time if I was not pro-choice I was certainly indifferent about abortion. And so that if he wants to be a leader on the national scene if he could clear the way for Democrats to re-think their position on abortion.
Leahy: Yeah. Exactly. And I think his father actually kind of wavered a little later in his career on abortion.
Swain: Like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and other Democrats?
Leahy: Yep. I think so.
Swain: Because at one time they were pro-life. I don’t remember.
Leahy: I’m looking at a piece from 2015 that said that he kind of let the abortion practices of his Democratic party kind of go forward. He just kind of gave them a pass. It looks like. The problem I think a lot of Catholics who are Democrats have is that you can’t put their support of abortion it doesn’t make sense in terms of their religious views I think Carol.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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