Thursday 8 December 2022
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Leticia James Supporting Legislation for NYS Abortion Access

Staff Report

Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash.

“One of our greatest fears in generations is coming true: The Supreme Court will overrule Roe v. Wade,” said Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas.

Women of child bearing ability across the United States will lose the federal right to safe and legal abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court rules against Roe v. Wade

González-Rojas, along with New York Attorney General Letitia James and State Senator Cordell Cleare say they want make sure that women have the right to abortion under the law and will introduce legislation providing abortion access for low-income New Yorkers.

“Millions who live in states hostile to abortion access will look to other states for that care. New York must be a leader at this moment and prepare for the impending need,” said González-Rojas. “I’m asking that we invest the necessary resources to support our sisters and siblings across this nation. Our communities need real action by our state and this fund will ensure that New York is a safe access state when the Supreme Court has failed us.”

Additionally, state representatives announced legislation which was originally called for by the attorney general, to establish a state program that would provide financial resources to abortion providers in NY.

The new legislation, The Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program (RFEP) would provide funding for abortion providers and non-profit organizations to help increase access to care, funding for uncompensated and uninsured abortion care and provide resources to support the needs of individuals accessing abortion care.

James seeks a dedicated Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program within the NYS Department of Health (DOH) that would provide funding to abortion providers and non-profit organizations to grow the volume of providers and meet present and future care needs. 

“As states have passed laws restricting access to abortion, the number of people traveling to New York for care has already grown,” James said in a press release. “In 2019, nine percent or 7,000 of the abortion procedures performed in New York were for people from out of state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

The RFEP would support access to abortion for low-income New Yorkers and would also provide financial support for the growing number of people coming to New York from other states that ban abortion. 

“As we’ve seen, …the right to safe, accessible abortions can be taken away in the blink of an eye. No matter what’s happening on the national level, New York must always be a safe haven for anyone seeking an abortion. I firmly support an amendment to the state constitution to protect access to this basic right in New York,” James said.

“We know what happens when women are unable to control their own bodies and make their own choices and we will not go back to those dark times,” James said. “New York must lead the fight to keep abortion safe and accessible for all who seek it and this legislation spearheaded by State Senator Cleare and Assemblymember González-Rojas will ensure that low-income New Yorkers and people from states that ban abortion have access to the care they need and deserve…”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, if Roe v. Wade is overturned; that number is likely to increase to more than 32,000 procedures a year from individuals traveling from only Ohio and Pennsylvania to New York.

Currently, there are 22 states that have laws or constitutional amendments that already exist that would allow them to ban abortion if Roe is overturned or weakened. There are an additional four states that are likely to ban abortion in the absence of federal protections. These 26 states are home to more than 40 million women of reproductive age.

“Access to quality health care is a basic human right,” Assemblymember Stefani L. Zinerman said. “There is no time like the present to charge forward with legislation that protects the rights of women and respects the needs of our humanity. Equal access to quality reproductive health care must be our highest priority.”