New York Attorney General Letitia James, State Senator Cordell Cleare, and Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas announced new legislation Tuesday to establish a state program that would provide financial resources to abortion providers in New York.
The Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program would provide funding for abortion providers and non-profit organizations to help increase access to care, funding for uncompensated and uninsured abortion care, and providing resources to support the needs of individuals accessing abortion care.
If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade in the coming weeks, the fundamental federal right to abortion will be eliminated, curtailing the ability of people across the United States to access safe and legal abortions. The Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program would support access to abortion for low-income New Yorkers and would also provide financial support for the influx of people coming to New York from other states that ban abortion.
“We know what happens when women are unable to control their own bodies and make their own choices and we will not go back to those dark times,” said Attorney General James. “New York must lead the fight to keep abortion safe and accessible for all who seek it and this legislation spearheaded by State Senator Cleare and Assemblymember González-Rojas will ensure that low-income New Yorkers and people from states that ban abortion have access to the care they need and deserve. No matter what happens in the weeks to come, New York will always fight to protect our right to make decisions about our own bodies and expand access to this critical and lifesaving care.”
As states have passed laws restricting access to abortion, the number of people traveling to New York for care has already grown. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, nine percent or 7,000 of the abortion procedures performed in New York were for people from out of state. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, that number is likely to increase to more than 32,000 procedures a year from individuals traveling from only Ohio and Pennsylvania to New York, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
There are currently 22 states that have laws or constitutional amendments that already exist that would allow them to ban abortion if Roe is overturned or weakened. There are an additional four states that are likely to ban abortion in the absence of federal protections. These 26 states are home to more than 40 million women of reproductive age.