NY State Lawmakers Move to Pass Reproductive Health Act

NY State Capitol

In light of recent concerns that a more conservative Supreme Court might overturn the landmark precedent established by Roe v. Wade in 1973, Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislators have pledged to pass a law protecting abortion rights in New York within the first 30 days of the new legislative session. Although previous attempts to pass this type of legislation were stymied by a Republican-controlled Senate, the latest version of the Reproductive Health Act is expected to be approved by the state legislature’s recently-elected Democratic majority.

Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo was joined on stage by Hillary Clinton as he committed to making the passage of a Reproductive Health Act a top priority in 2019.

“Advancing the rights of women and girls is the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” said Clinton during the address.

If approved, the new law would make late-term abortions legal in cases where a mother’s health is at risk or a fetus is not viable. It would also de-criminalize abortion in general by moving the state’s abortion regulations from the penal code to the health code. The Reproductive Health Act will come to a vote in conjunction with another companion bill that requires insurers to provide free contraceptive coverage.

Meanwhile, several other states such as Massachusetts and Oregon have recently passed similar pieces of legislation protecting women’s reproductive rights as well. Other more conservative states, however, have also passed laws that would restrict abortion access if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

As Hillary Clinton said in her remarks to the state legislature, “Women’s ability to get basic healthcare, our right to make the most deeply personal decisions, is facing the most significant threats in recent memory.”