As he was running for a second term in 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a package of bills with the stated goal of boosting equality for women in New York.
At the heart of the proposal was a bill strengthening abortion rights and codifying the landmark Roe v. Wade decision into New York's public health law, and potentially inoculating the state against a hypothetical Supreme Court case challenging the ruling. Seven years later, the Reproductive Health Act is law and the Supreme Court has a pending case before it that could shift abortion law in the country.
"I think about the case coming out five months before the midterms really helped me to see how emotionally charged this debate is going to be as we head into the next term," said the Rev. Jason McGuire, the executive director of the socially conservative organization New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms.
Conservatives now hold a majority on the Supreme Court, making the Mississippi-based case the first real challenge to the Roe v. Wade decision in years.
McGuire, a staunch opponent of abortion, remains skeptical the court, under what has been moderate leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts, would fully overturn the ruling.
"I'm also a realist and I don't think this court is going to do that, and I don't think that this court, in whole, is going to overturn Roe," he said.
But he is hopeful more people could be activated to examine the abortion issue in the coming months.
"The question we should be asking is regarding the humanity of the unborn, and more and more as we see the window into the womb, I think a generation is rising up saying those babies deserve protections," he said.
The fight over the Reproductive Health Act in New York was part of a years-long battle over the issue and adjacent to the broader effort by Democrats to gain a full majority in the state Senate. By 2019, Democrats had secured full majority control over the chamber and passed the measure.
Democratic state Sen. Liz Krueger is more concerned the court's decision in the pending abortion case could lead to additional efforts at chipping away at abortion nationally.
"We're worried, it's real, it's why so many people were opposed to the nominees to the court during the Trump administration. But this is the world we are living in," she said. "It will incentivize the minority in the U.S. who oppose reproductive rights to push the umbrella at their state levels and push more cases at the court that open up more confusion."
New York Democrats in the state Senate this week pointed to the pending court case as an argument for supporters of abortion rights to maintain their majorities in the state Legislature. Ultimately, New York could be among a handful of Democratic leaning states where abortions can be obtained, with other states that have far more restrictive laws.
Democrats hold supermajorities in both the state Senate and Assembly, but the state is home to several battleground congressional districts where the issue could be at play.
"We want to make sure our laws are clear and our rights are strong and protected, even as surrounding states might choose a different path," Krueger said.