NEW YORK, NY — New York Attorney General Letitia James, State Senator Cordell Cleare, and Assembly member Jessica González-Rojas today announced new legislation 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.
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.
“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 Assembly member 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.”
The legislation announced today, and originally called for by Attorney General James last year, seeks a dedicated Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program within the New York State Department of Health (DOH) that would provide funding to abortion providers and non-profit organizations to grow the capacity of providers and meet present and future care needs. The program would provide funding for uncompensated abortion care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay for care or their insurance status. Finally, the program seeks to address the abortion care needs of individuals from outside of New York by awarding grant funds to non-profit organizations that provide support to individuals that travel to New York. To protect the privacy of the individuals seeking care, the legislation prohibits the state from tracking the personal information of patients through the providers that receive funds from the program.