The New York Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Rights Project (RRP) today released a 10-minute video to educate New Yorkers about the need to pass the Reproductive Health Act, legislation that would strengthen and modernize New York's abortion laws.

• View our first video about the Reproductive Health Act.

The film, Another New Yorker for the Reproductive Health Act, features a wide range of voices in support of the legislation, including legal experts, religious leaders, physicians, and women and men who care about safeguarding reproductive freedom. It also reminds viewers of the wrenching decisions women sometimes face when a desired pregnancy goes terribly wrong — where the fetus has a fatal condition, or the woman’s health is seriously jeopardized – and the need to ensure women in those circumstances have safe, legal options.

"The Reproductive Health Act is about more than securing women’s reproductive rights," NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. "It’s about autonomy, privacy and dignity. It is about supporting healthy families. It is about setting health care policy that treats women as equal members of society."

The video, which is now available on YouTube, is part of a statewide campaign to inform people of the need for the bill and help them take action to support it. The campaign also features a new web page and an informational toolkit.

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.

"State legislatures around the country have enacted over 450 bills that would ban or restrict abortion, some of which are a direct challenge to Roe," RRP Director Galen Sherwin said. "All it takes is one of these challenges to reach the Supreme Court, and Roe could be overturned."

The Reproductive Health Act would guarantee a woman’s right to control her reproductive health, treat the regulation of abortion as an issue of public health rather than as a potential crime, and ensure that if continuing a pregnancy jeopardizes a woman’s health, she has safe, legal options.

The Rev. Matthew Westfox, who appears in the video, said reproductive health care decisions should be left to women and their doctors, not the government.

"It is important that each woman be able to make the health care decision that is right for her and her family without government interference," said Rev. Westfox, who serves as national coordinator for field services for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and associate pastor of All Souls Bethlehem Church. "The Reproductive Health Act would protect a women’s right to make those very personal decisions based on her own conscience, and in accordance with her own ethical or religious beliefs."

The bill was introduced last year, and the NYCLU is currently working with the Governor's office, legislators and allies in support of its expected reintroduction later in this legislative session.