PROTECT REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN NEW YORK NOW
If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, New York would revert to an outdated and confusing abortion law passed in 1970 that criminalizes abortion and family planning.
What’s the big deal?
Under New York State’s current law, abortions after 24 weeks are a criminal act unless they will immediately save the mother’s life. It doesn’t matter if carrying the pregnancy to term will permanently damage a woman’s health, if the fetus isn’t viable, or if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. This is not up to the standards that Roe v. Wade set when it enshrined the right to an abortion in the Constitution.
Wow! What about contraceptive care in New York?
In the event of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being overturned, insurance companies in New York will have no requirement to provide affordable contraception without a copay. We can make our state law cover that, so our right to choose contraception is protected even if Obamacare is repealed at the federal level.
WHAT IS THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH ACT?
The RHA guarantees a woman’s right to have control of her own body in New York State.
Roe v. Wade allows late-term abortions when the mother’s life or health is in danger; New York’s law only allows abortions when the mother’s life is in danger. The RHA would bring out state law up to code with Roe v. Wade’s decision, and move the law out of the criminal code and into the public health code, where it belongs.
But here’s where things get problematic: The NY State Senate, controlled by a Republican/Independent Democratic Conference coalition, has refused to vote on the bill for the past 3 years.
In a similar boat is the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act, which has also been stuck in the Health Committee. The CCCA would guarantee women the right to affordable contraception in New York, but the Senators in the committee refuse to send both the RHA and the CCCA to the floor for a vote.
How these laws help New York women:
The CCCA states that every individual has the right to choose or refuse contraception.
The RHA affirms that every woman has the fundamental right to determine the course of her pregnancy.
WHY ARE THESE BILLS SO IMPORTANT?
American women’s reproductive rights are under attack.
Our state law is not only important to us as New Yorkers; it impacts women across the country. By passing the RHA, we can protect every American woman who relies on our state as a reproductive asylum and send a strong message to federal lawmakers: New Yorkers value and will fight to protect women’s rights.
In addition, when our state law differs from federal law, it causes a lot of confusion between doctors and patients as to which law applies to them. As a result, New York women have to travel out-of-state to obtain medically necessary abortions.
This is unnacceptable.
With the current Supreme Court balance leaning towards the right, we must act.
GET THE FACTS
A Brief History of Reproductive Rights in New York
In 1970, the New York State Legislature voted to make abortion legal for all New Yorkers and non-residents. New York played an instrumental role in the leadup to the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973, which decided that access to abortion was a fundamental right for women in the United States, and should be protected by the U.S. Constitution.
Since New York was ahead of the game at the time when Roe v. Wade was passed, we never updated our state law after Roe’s new, expanded rights became law. So now, 45 years later, we still have the same abortion law that criminalizes abortions in the third trimester unless the mother’s life is in danger. The Reproductive Health Act would simply bring our state law up to date with federal law, so there’s no more confusion between doctors, patients, and lawmakers: the right for women to decide what path they take should always be their own.
“Complex and personal decisions about reproductive healthcare are the sole right and responsibility of a woman and her medical providers.”