After the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that shows the court is likely to overturn the 1973 case Roe v. Wade, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced new legislation that will provide financial resources to abortion providers in the state.
"Every person in this nation should have the freedom to control their own body and their own healthcare, and this fundamental right is implicit in our Constitution, and that right should not be abridged and or denied," James said Monday, according to CBS News.
According to James’ office, the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program would provide funding for abortion providers and nonprofits to help low-income New Yorkers seek abortions.
It would also provide financial support for the anticipated influx of people from other states traveling to New York to seek abortions.
"Over the past few years, as states have rolled back this right and made it harder to get an abortion, New York has already experienced an uptick of people coming to our state to get an abortion," James said, according to CBS. "According to the CDC in 2019, almost 9% of abortions performed in New York were for people from other states. That amounts to about 7,000 individuals."
According to the Guttmacher Institute, the number of people traveling from Ohio and Pennsylvania to New York for an abortion is likely to increase to more than 32,000 per year, if Roe is overturned.
The legislation seeks to establish a dedicated Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program in the New York State Department of Health that would provide funding for abortions regardless of a patient’s ability to pay for care or their insurance status.
If adopted, the legislation would also prohibit the state from tracking the personal information of patients through the providers that receive funds from the program.
If Roe is overturned or weakened, there are currently 22 states that have laws or constitutional amendments that already exist that would allow them to ban abortion. There are an additional four states that seem poised to ban abortion if Roe is struck down.
These 26 states are home to more than 40 million women of reproductive age.
"Bans will not stop abortions," James said. "Bans will only stop safe abortions. 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."
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