New York's Legislature passed a bill Tuesday that would make the state the first in the U.S. to make it illegal to declaw a cat -- prompting outrage from conservatives who pointed, sometimes in stark terms, to the state's liberal pro-choice laws they say permit abortion until the moment of birth in some cases.
The declawing bill, which would subject veterinarians to $1,000 fines for performing the operation, now heads to the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose representatives said he will review the bill before deciding if he will sign it.
Declawing a cat is already illegal in much of Europe as well as in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver, but no other U.S. state has voted to ban the procedure, which involves amputating a cat's toes back to the first knuckle.
Unlike human nails, a cat's claws are attached to bone, so declawing a feline requires a veterinarian to slice through tendon and nerves to remove the last segment of bone in a cat's toes.
Cuomo and the majority of lawmakers in both houses of the Legislature are Democrats. In January, the state passed the so-called Reproductive Health Act, allowing nondoctors to conduct abortions, and permitting abortion until the mother's due date if the woman's health is endangered or the fetus is not viable.
"In New York you may not be able to declaw your cat, but abortion of a baby up until the day of birth is fine," Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich wrote on Twitter.
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro retweeted a post from the pro-life LifeNews.com website, which called out what it dubbed apparent hypocrisy.
"New York in January: Let's legalize abortions up to birth and infanticide!" The post begins. "New York Now: Declawing cats is horrible and evil!"
Supporters of the declawing ban include animal welfare advocates, some cat owners and some veterinarians, who argue that the practice is barbaric. They have predicted that other states will follow with their own bans.
"New York prides itself on being first," said the bill's sponsor in the state Assembly, Manhattan Democrat Linda Rosenthal. "This will have a domino effect."
New York was the first state to legalize abortion in 1970.
Meanwhile, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society had opposed the bill, arguing that declawing should be allowed as a last resort for cats that won't stop scratching furniture or humans — or when the cat's owner has a weakened immune system, putting them at greater risk of infection from a scratch.
"Medical decisions should be left to the sound discretion of fully trained, licensed and state supervised professionals," the society said in a memo opposing the legislation.
Under the bill, veterinarians could still perform the procedure for medical reasons, such as infection or injury.
The bill was first introduced years ago and has slowly gained momentum as more lawmakers came out in support. Tuesday was the first time the measure has gone to a vote in either the Senate or Assembly.
Fox News' Caleb Parke and The Associated Press contributed to this report.