The Democratic-sponsored bills
are designed to make the state a haven for abortion seekers and providers, as conservative states seek to curtail abortion rights through restrictive legislation or bans, with the Supreme Court expected to overturn Roe v. Wade this month.
Speaking from The Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York City, Hochul said the laws would protect against what she described as the “persistent assault on women’s rights and a women’s right to determine and make her own decisions about her own body.”
One of the bills Hochul signed would bar New York from assisting in “out-of-state legal cases” involving abortion, with some exceptions.
Last summer, Texas’ 6-week abortion ban took effect, banning the procedure before many women know they are even pregnant and allowing private citizens to enforce the law through civil action.
Idaho followed suit, but its law was temporarily blocked
by the state’s high court. Oklahoma went a step further this spring by banning abortions from the stage of “fertilization”
and allowing private citizens to sue abortion providers who “knowingly” perform or induce an abortion “on a pregnant woman. It has been challenged
The bill passed by New York lawmakers states that the governor won’t recognize an extradition demand from another state for a person charged with providing an abortion, unless that state’s governor alleges that the accused was in that state at the time of the alleged offense.
The measure also blocks New York courts from honoring subpoenas in civil cases from out-of-state courts if the case involves abortion services legal in New York.
Another measure would block professional misconduct charges against health care practitioners for providing abortion services to patients from states where it is restricted.
One of the bills amends the state’s civil rights act and establishes a cause of action for “unlawful interference with protected rights.”
Other legislation signed by Hochul includes a bill that prevents medical malpractice insurers from adversely acting against abortion providers, a bill setting up a task force to study the impact of limited-service pregnancy centers, and a bill that allows abortion providers, their immediate family members, employees, volunteers and abortion patients to shield their addresses. The state’s confidentiality address program, which had mainly applied to sexual assault or domestic abuse survivors, provides participants with a substitute address.
The Democratic majority in the Senate said the legislative package “ensures that New York State will remain a safe haven for any person seeking abortion healthcare.”
The signing of the bills follows the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion
last month that would strike down Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that established a constitutional right to abortion before fetal viability.
After the leak, Hochul said she was “absolutely horrified by what the majority of the Supreme Court of the United States of America plans to do to women’s rights in this country.”
New York in 2019 passed a law
that would protect abortion access if Roe is overturned. The law, known as the Reproductive Health Act, removed abortion from the state’s criminal code and expanded the type of health care professionals who could perform abortions in the state.