Indigent women who are seeking abortions and related services could be provided with state aide to travel to New York under a proposed measure by Democratic state Assemblyman Charles Lavine.
The Long Island lawmaker unveiled the proposal on Monday as state lawmakers consider ways of addressing the potential overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming weeks.
A decision overturning the ruling would likely send abortion policy back to state governments; New York largely has some of the strongest laws governing abortion access in the country. But other states are expected to restrict gun laws as a result if the ruling overturns Roe.
The situation has led to New York Democrats to call for measures to aid women who are seeking abortions in New York. Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced plans to spend $35 million to expand facilities and bolster security ahead of a potential influx of women seeking services in New York.
Lavine's bill is meant to aid low-income women who may not have the money to travel.
“New York must expand its protections to those seeking care regardless of where they reside. In the event Roe v. Wade is overturned, this bill enables anyone in a state where abortion is unlawful to receive the care they are entitled to. Abortion rights are human rights and New York must continue to be a national leader in protecting women’s reproductive rights.”
The people affected by the measure include women who are living in states where abortion is outlawed and the patient cannot pay to come to New York. Immigration status would be barred from being considered for acceptance to the program.
The measure would also set aside $15 million at the state Department of Health to fund the program as well as create a non-profit corporation to accept private, tax-deductible contributions to help fund it. The state Department of Health would also be able to enter into inter-state compacts to help fund the program and provide resouraces.
And the bill proposes a "private right action" that would allow a New York resident to sue someone who obstructs, aids or abets the obstruction of a woman seeking an abortion in New York.
State lawmakers, meanwhile, are also expected to consider a constitutional amendment that would codify a range of gender-based rights in the state constitution. A package of abortion-related measures is expected to be approved in the coming weeks.
Opponents of abortion in New York, including the Catholic Conference, have urged lawmakers to consider ways of aiding families beyond an expansion of abortion laws.