Bills meant to ensure women who live outside of New York can access abortion services in the state are gaining momentum within the state Legislature as Democratic lawmakers weigh how to respond to the potential of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the Roe v. Wade decision on the national level.
If the court, based on a leaked ruling made public this week, moves to overturn the original 1973 case, abortion policies will return to state capitals around the country. New York has previously codified the Roe ruling in state law.
But with the likelihood of Republican-led states outlawing or restricting abortion services in the wake of the coming ruling, lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul have said they want to make it easier for women in those states to receive access in New York.
- How abortion laws could change in New York
- New York Democrats considering several amendments to address abortion rights
- Majority leader: New York Senate may consider codifying a right to privacy, not just abortion
One bill, backed by Democratic state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, would give women the claim of "unlawful interference" with their rights if their travel to New York for care involving reproductive or endocrine functions results in a criminal or civil complaint brought against them.
A separate bill backed by state Sen. Liz Krueger would bar law enforcement from arresting a person who has provided reproductive health care in the state. Additional protections would also bar state and local law enforcement from cooperating or providing information to an out-of-state agency or department regarding reproductive care.
Both measures on Friday picked up the backing of state Sen. Peter Harckham.
“In New York, we remain committed to upholding the rights of women to receive reproductive health care of their own choosing without governmental intrusion,” Harckham said. “If the U. S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, I am certain that women will travel to New York, where they will still be able to get the care they require and desire without unlawful interference from those endeavoring to limit their rights to this care.”
Lawmakers are also considering legislation that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution — a measure that is likely to gain first passage in the coming weeks. Lawmakers would have to pass the amendment again next year before it can go before voters.
“In light of the leaked Supreme Court decision to overturn the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, New York State must be a leader and stand with women to protect their right to body autonomy and the right to receive the health care they want and deserve,” said Vince Russell, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic. “The consequences of this impending Supreme Court decision will be swift and devastating for communities nationwide: it means in half the country, people would no longer have the power over their own bodies and their own lives."