ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York would expand legal protections for people seeking and providing abortions in the state under a legislation package that lawmakers began debating Tuesday.
Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has called for New York to increase legal protections for abortion services in case the U.S. Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade’s nationwide right to abortion this summer. It was not immediately clear whether Hochul would sign all the abortion bills that lawmakers plan to pass this week.
Spokespeople for the leaders of the state Assembly and Senate said lawmakers in both chambers would begin voting on the bills Tuesday, with votes expected through Thursday.
One bill would forbid New York from cooperating with out-of-state legal cases involving abortions, except in limited scenarios. Those could include criminal cases where another state’s governor alleges the defendant was present in that state at the time of an alleged offense and later fled. And New York courts could honor out-of-state subpoena requests in civil cases brought by a patient.
Under another bill, New York would protect the right of people to seek abortion or gender affirming care in the state. People could sue for unlawful interference with their right to reproductive healthcare.
A bill would allow abortion providers and patients — as well as their family members — to participate in an existing state program that lets people shield their address from abusers.
The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Cordell Cleare, a Harlem Democrat, follows similar changes to the law in California and New Jersey.
A online summary of the bill on the state’s website says threats against abortion providers, employees and patients have been increasing.
New York lawmakers are also facing calls to launch the process of amending the state constitution to guarantee abortion rights and prohibit discrimination based on factors ranging from race to “pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes.” That amendment would need to be approved by the state legislature in two legislative session years and then be approved by voters.