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ALBANY – The leaders of the Catholic Church in New York met with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday to challenge him not to introduce legislation to expand abortion rights in the state.

“The bottom line was, we told him we were going to oppose any kind of plan that continues what we consider one of the primary evils of our time, which is the taking of a life,” said Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone.

The bishop joined about a dozen diocesan leaders from around the state in the closed-door meeting with Cuomo at the Capitol. While the Catholic leaders backed the governor’s effort to hike the state’s minimum wage and his signing the recent gun-control law, the line was drawn over Cuomo’s abortion plans. The governor has not been specific – either publicly or with the Catholic leaders Tuesday – on the abortion issue, but he said he wants to somehow codify state law to protect abortion rights in case Roe v. Wade is ever overturned.

Malone said Cuomo urged the bishops “not to judge his forthcoming bill” based on plans already offered by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer or more recently by some Senate Democrats.

The Buffalo bishop said Cuomo noted his Catholic roots. “He certainly several times spoke of his gratitude to be a Catholic. … He said some very affirming things about the Catholic faith,” Malone said.

“Of course, he pointed out also that he ran as a pro-choice candidate. We find it unacceptable for a Catholic to run as a pro-choice candidate, and that’s the decision he made. But the meeting seemed to me to be a respectful and open kind of dialogue.”

email: tprecious@buffnews.com