Gov. Kathy Hochul says she's confident a law she signed Friday to protect abortion providers in the state will stand up in court ahead of anticipated constitutional challenges, and some medical doctors are ready to take her word for it.

The governor signed the measure on the eve of the U.S. Supreme Court's one-year anniversary of striking down Roe v. Wade to legally shield New York clinicians who prescribe abortion medication to patients who live in states where they may be restricted or outlawed.

The governor Friday was clear the state will not assist other states that decide to prosecute New York abortion providers for using telehealth medicine to send abortion pills to patients in states where it's criminalized. New York will not extradite, issue subpoenas or help with a related investigation, Hochul said.

"Today, we made a strong statement we said that doctors who choose to help these women in other states can prescribe and send them abortion medication pills," the governor said after signing the legislation. "It will become a reality for millions of American women to have more contorl over their own lives and destinies and health care."

Attorneys and medical providers continue to question the law's constitutionality, and expect legal challenges at the state and federal level.

"It is shocking how often we are sued for what we do in an ordinary course of business," the governor said. "If they want to challenge the constitutionality of our actions here today, we will defend that in court, and we will win."

Hochul said she will ensure the state has the proper resources to win the likely court battles.

"The work we've done thus far has been intensive and demonstrates this is a constitutional and fundamental right we have in New York," she said. "We will be ready for any lawsuits before they happen."

Advocates say counsel and medical experts worked on the law since last March — two months before the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was publicly leaked amid earlier challenges in Texas.

Senate sponsor Sen. Shelley Mayer is equally confident her legislation will withstand anticipated legal challenges. She argues the Supreme Court's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision that overturned Roe gave power to the states, and a person must be physically present in another state to violate the Constitution's interstate extradition clause.

"The law, we believe, is quite clear," Mayer said. "Until we have a Congress that's willing to adopt a federal standard, states are free to adopt their own legislation that was passed by a majority in both houses signed by the governor [under Dobbs]. Extradition is based on the physical presence in a state and then fleeing these conditions. These physicians and providers are not going to be physically present in Texas and Florida — they are going to be engaging in their professional work here."

The use of telehealth medical appointments, which became commonplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, has a framework in its infancy, but Mayer says the law specifies protections for telemedicine for reproductive health care and no other services.

"There were concerns about whether this would go beyond reproductive health care, whether other doctors engage in telehealth and they weren't licensed in New York ... but the reproductive health care arena is narrowly defined in the statute. So I think we were in good standing. We're in new territory here, but we're not the only state."

Massachusetts adopted a similar law last year protecting medical practitioners in that state who provide abortion care from litigation led by other states, including the use of telehealth.

Officials from other states have threatened New York abortion providers giving abortion care to out-of-state patients. A small number of doctors and clinicians in the state have decided to take the risk regardless of potential jeopardy to their medical license.

Dr. Linda Prine has practiced medicine for over four decades and is one of the providers who will use telehealth to prescribe medication abortion pills in other states. The New York City medical provider says she's willing to test the legal waters if it means helping patients across the nation needing reproductive care. 

"I think we have to take this risk, I think we have to do the right thing," she said Friday. "People need our help. That's what we go into medicine to do."

Prine, 71, is prepared to lead the way in helping people outside New York continue to have access to abortion and reproductive care. She says she trusts Gov. Hochul, Sen. Mayer and other state officials' confidence in the new law.

"I think New York state really has our backs and we will be safe," she said. "They will not let us be extradited, they will not let us go to jail. I'm doing this maybe on belief instead of knowledge of all the legal ins and outs — just like when you take a medicine you trust that you know that your doctor is giving you the right medicine. So I trust that my lawyers have read all this stuff carefully."

Christopher Bopst, a constitutional lawyer in Buffalo, says the law is worded to circumvent federal laws requiring extradition and the Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause, which mandates state courts respect the laws and court decisions in other states. But he added a ruling could go either way.

He expects the state law will be part of an ongoing national legal conversation around the issue.

"A state that is heavily anti-abortion is not just going to take that sitting down," Bopst said. "They're not just going to say, 'OK, you're allowing your providers to act with impunity and send medication to our state's residents. We're going to do something about it — or try to do something about it."

But the governor and lawmakers say New York stands ready for the fight, and will be sending out more abortion pills out-of-state in the coming days.

"Just the utmost respect for these providers who are willing to take some degree of risk," Mayer said. "I mean, nothing's going to happen to them in New York, we don't think. Yes, we're going to get sued, but we believe we will be victorious. We are quite confident about that."