The New York Civil Liberties Union today applauded the Assembly for passing the Reproductive Services Act, a bill that will strengthen and modernize New York’s abortion laws.
“The State Assembly has a proud record of championing the rights of women,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “This important legislation is not only about strengthening reproductive rights. It’s about supporting autonomy, privacy and dignity. It’s about supporting healthy families.”
The Assembly passed A.6221 in a vote of 94-to-49, with bipartisan support. The bill is carried in the Senate (S. 4432) by Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D/WF.
Abortion has been legal in New York since 1970, but the state has not revised its laws since. New York law still treats abortion as a crime and does not affirmatively guarantee women’s right to make private reproductive health care decisions. New Yorkers rely on the Roe v. Wade decision to guarantee that right, which leaves it vulnerable to further erosion by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Reproductive Services Act would guarantee a woman’s right to control her reproductive health and ensure that a woman can receive the care she needs in New York if her health is in jeopardy.
Currently, state law only protects women during pregnancy if their lives are in immediate danger, leaving them vulnerable to a wide range of complications that can occur during pregnancy. The bill will ensure that if continuing a pregnancy jeopardizes a woman’s health, she has safe, legal options right here in New York State.
It will not force health care providers to provide abortion services in conflict with their religious beliefs. It specifically states: “Nothing in this article shall be construed to conflict with any applicable state or federal law or regulation permitting a health care provider to refrain from providing abortions due to the provider’s religious or moral beliefs.”
“Today New York’s Assembly overwhelmingly stood on the right side of history by supporting basic bodily autonomy and equality for all New Yorkers,” said NYCLU Assistant Legislative Director Corinne Carey. “Protecting women’s health shouldn’t be controversial. We applaud the Assembly for knowing that.”