As abortion access withers in red states across the U.S. after the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, New York officials are eyeing or enacting measures aimed at helping local women and out-of-staters seeking care.
From City Hall to the state Capitol to the nonprofit sector, here is a look at some of the efforts underway to position New York as a national safe harbor for reproductive health care access, as it was a half century ago before the ruling on Roe.
New York has taken steps in recent weeks that could help women in states where abortion is illegal visit New York and undergo the procedure.
Last month, the state Legislature passed a package of laws, signed by Gov. Hochul, that protects New York health care practitioners from legal consequences for providing abortions to women who come from states where the procedure is outlawed.
And in May, Hochul said she was sending $35 million into a new fund for abortion providers and security at abortion clinics, with $25 million toward provider capacity and $10 million toward security.
The state Health Department said Tuesday that the first phase of funding disbursement — in which $10 million will be released — is now underway, and that recipients have been notified.
Outside of government, other groups are stepping up, too. The Brigid Alliance, a New York nonprofit, helps cover costs of travel for abortion services.
The nonprofit says it is assisting more than 125 clients — about half from the South — each month, with an average cost of about $1,250 per client.
“We’re *so* grateful for how supporters across the country have increased our capacity in recent weeks,” the group tweeted last week.
The New York City Council is pushing a measure that would make abortion-inducing medications available free of charge at dozens of health clinics across the five boroughs.
The bill would require that all city Health Department clinics, stations and centers provide free access to mifepristone and misoprostol, a pair of drugs typically taken together to terminate a pregnancy within the first 10 weeks.
Questions remain around funding for the measure. Mayor Adams’ administration has expressed urgency about protecting abortion access after the Supreme Court ruling, but has not yet offered a specific endorsement of the plan.
With red states threatening to prosecute doctors who perform abortions, New York and other blue states are racing in the opposite direction.
Under the state laws passed in June, New York courts and law enforcement agencies are broadly prevented from cooperating with out-of-state criminal cases targeting abortions conducted legally in New York.
“This is the United States of America, where freedom and liberty are supposed to mean something. It’s the rock upon which we were founded,” Hochul said last month.
“It’s supposed to mean something — except in the eyes of some Neanderthals who say, ‘Women are not entitled to those rights,’” Hochul said.
The ruling Democrats in Albany passed an amendment last week that launches a lengthy process aimed at enshrining reproductive rights in the state Constitution, securing abortion access against future political winds.
The amendment must be approved by a second consecutive Legislature and then approved by New York’s voters in a ballot referendum. The referendum could come in 2024 or late 2023, if lawmakers sign off again next year.
Democrats in Albany, facing concerns that the federal judiciary could also unwind the right to same-sex marriage, also included language in the state’s equal rights amendment protecting New Yorkers from government discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.
The amendment was passed during a special session called by Hochul after the Supreme Court’s abortion decision.
“We are running out of time to codify these human rights before the Supreme Court completely invalidates them,” state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers), the majority leader, said on the Senate floor.
With Chris Sommerfeldt and Denis Slattery