New York will set aside $35 million to strengthen access to abortion services in the state ahead of a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could overturn the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced.
The money, taken from funds within the state Department of Health and the Division of Criminal Justice Services, is being drawn on in anticipation of an expected influx of women seeking abortion services in New York if abortion policy returns to state governments. Multiple Republican-led states are expected to place stricter laws on abortion if Roe is overturned.
But states led by Democrats, including New York, are moving in the opposite direction and finding ways of guaranteeing access to abortion services.
“We will defend that right to have an abortion with the full power of New York state government," Hochul said.
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Hochul announced $25 million would be used for abortion providers to expand their infrastructure and capacity. An additional $10 million would be used to boost security around the facilities, Hochul said.
The New York Catholic Confernece in a statement criticized the approach.
“Gov. Hochul’s announcement that she is going to immediately redirect $35 million in taxpayer dollars to enable abortion clinics to expand their capacity to perform even more abortions is a grave misuse of state resources and an insult to millions of pro-life New Yorkers," said Dennis Poust, the group's executive director. "Inviting women from out of state to come here to abort their unborn children is a breathtaking reminder of how far our culture has fallen."
The governor announced the funding as New York state lawmakers are expected as early as next week to approve a series of measures meant to strengthen the state's already strong abortion laws on the books. Lawmakers are also considering the first passage of a constitutional amendment that would enshrine the right to abortion in New York.
The amendment is also likely to include a broader series of guaranteed rights based on gender and sexuality. Hochul, in a virtual news conference with abortion-rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers, said she would support a broadly worded amendment.
A constitutional amendment must be approved twice by lawmakers in separately elected sessions of the Legislature before going to voters in a referendum.