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Letter: Health Act Ensures Key Protections (The Journal News)

To the Editor:

Re “Stop Reproductive Health Act efforts,” July 13 letter: Assertions in the letter about the Reproductive Health Act were misguided and entirely wrong on the facts.

The bill would not force hospitals or doctors to provide abortions against their will. State law already protects a medical provider’s right to refuse to perform abortions on moral or religious grounds, and the bill would not affect this important protection.

The vast majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester of pregnancy, and the bill won’t change that. The bill would allow for abortion late in pregnancy consistent with existing federal law: only in those very rare and deeply painful cases where a woman’s health is in jeopardy, or when the fetus has a fatal medical condition and would not survive birth.

The Reproductive Health Act would amend state law to regulate abortion as a medical procedure and not as a potential criminal offense. (It presently is in the Penal Code). It would protect reproductive freedom in New York should the federal courts further erode Roe v. Wade or overturn the landmark decision.

Generally, the bill seeks to protect and preserve women’s ability to make safe, informed decisions for themselves and their families without government interference. The majority of New Yorkers support this goal. The Legislature should quickly pass this crucial legislation.

Linda Berns
Director, Lower Hudson Valley Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union

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