Roe v. Wade: New York Democrats pledge to maintain safe harbor

New York legalized access to abortion in 1970

Updated: June 24, 2022 - 4:06pm

While Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization means abortion will become illegal in several states, New York will not be one of them, and state leaders have issued statements after the historic ruling reiterating that.

“New York has always been a beacon for those yearning to be free,” Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “Our state will always be a safe harbor for those seeking access to abortion care. To anyone who is working to deny abortion access, our message is clear: not here, not now, not ever.”

New York legalized access to abortion in 1970. It also allows people to come from out of state to get one. The law allows for abortions up through 24 weeks of pregnancy. A procedure could still occur after 24 weeks if the woman’s health or pregnancy is at risk.

While Friday’s ruling will not impact New York nearly as much as other states – 13 states have enacted so-called “trigger laws” that would ban abortion once Roe v. Wade was overturned – it still will have an impact since many seeking an abortion will look to go to places where it remains safe and legal.

Last month, after it appeared the nation’s top court would allow states to choose how to handle abortion laws, Hochul set aside $35 million in state funding to protect access. Of that, she called for the State Department of Health to create a $25 million fund for providers to expand their capacities.

The other $10 million will come from the Division of Criminal Justice Services to award funding for providers to bolster safety and security at their centers for patients and staff. Hochul’s May announcement said the division would issue a solicitation for providers to apply for grant funding by the time of the final Supreme Court ruling.

A message to Hochul’s office on Friday regarding the grants was not immediately returned.

Hochul was joined by State Attorney General Letitia James, who lashed out at the decision as a “vicious, dangerous and deliberate attack on our most basic freedoms.” She also echoed the governor’s comments about the future of abortion in New York.

“But make no mistake: We will not go back to the inhumane and restrictive pre-Roe era,” James said. “Regardless of the situation at the national level, New York will always be a safe haven for anyone seeking an abortion. I will work tirelessly to ensure that low-income New Yorkers and people from hostile states have access to the care they need and deserve.”

While many New York leaders decried Friday’s ruling, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-New York, heralded it on Twitter as a decision that “will save COUNTLESS innocent lives.”

She also said more work needs to be done on the abortion front, and as the House GOP Conference chairwoman, she said she would lead the way in that effort.

“House Republicans are committed to fighting to protect the truly voiceless and STOPPING taxpayer dollars from funding on-demand abortions,” she tweeted Friday.

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