New York passed one of the most liberal abortion laws in American history in January, permitting abortions after 24 weeks even if the mere health of the mother could be compromised by the pregnancy.

Now, New York lawmakers are shifting their focus to prioritize the well-being and comfort of the state’s cats.

What is going on?

New York lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that would ban cat declawing, sending the resolution to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for approval.

The bill prohibits several types of cat declawing surgeries except when necessary “for a therapeutic purpose,” which the law defines as addressing the “physical medical condition” of the cat.

“Therapeutic purpose does not include cosmetic or aesthetic 11 reasons or reasons of convenience in keeping or handling the cat,” the law states.

Violators of the law would face civil punishment, including a fine of up to $1,000.

If Cuomo signs the bill, the Empire State would become the first in the nation to outlaw the procedure. His office told the New York Times that it is reviewing the bill.

Several major U.S. cities — including Los Angeles, Denver, and San Francisco — already outlaw cat declawing.

What is cat declawing?

The process, which is known as onychectomy, is actually more complicated than removing a feline’s claw nail. In fact, the process involves the amputation of the end bone to which each nail is attached.

“Cat declawing is a horrific, yet often practiced surgery that leads to a lifetime of pain and discomfort for thousands of cats,” Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D) told NPR.

However, as NPR noted, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society is the most outspoken opponent of New York’s potential declawing ban. The veterinarian group argues there are several legitimate purposes for declawing cats, including for the health of cat owners with weakened immune systems.

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