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by Robin Chappelle Golston, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts

Abortion is health care and in 1970, New York State rightly recognized this essential right. Now, almost 50 years later with a federal administration eroding access to basic reproductive health care and Roe in jeopardy, our state is ready to step up again for our constitutional right to safe, legal abortion with the Reproductive Health Act (RHA).

The RHA is essential because:

  • Abortion is health care, not a crime. The RHA moves the regulation of abortion out of the penal code and into the public health law, where it rightly belongs.
  • NYS needs Roe’s current constitutional protections. Written 3 years prior to Roe, our antiquated state law lacks a health exception, forcing individuals to leave our state for care later in pregnancy when their health is at risk or a fetus is not viable.
  • Our law must keep pace with medical progress. In 1970, when our state’s abortion law was passed, the practice of medicine was limited to doctors, and as a result, our outdated law fails to recognize that qualified, licensed health care providers can provide early and safe abortion care within their expertise and training.

We all must be able to make the health care decisions that are right for ourselves and our families. We look forward to the RHA’s passage in both the Assembly and the Senate this year thanks to the work of advocates who highlighted the need to protect our right to safe, legal abortion in our state.

In New York, we are also truly fortunate to have legislative leaders who know our health and well-being depend on our ability to access reproductive health care. We look forward to continuing to work with Governor Andrew Cuomo,  Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins during the 2019 legislative session to see continued progress for New Yorkers.