Passage of the Reproductive Health Act
On January 22, 2019, the 46th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the state legislature passed the Reproductive Health Act, a bill that I sponsored and helped to pass in the Assembly a number of times in previous years, and finally was signed into state law at the start of the legislative session. Once a national leader for reproductive rights, New York’s abortion laws were outdated and harmful to pregnant New Yorkers. The Reproductive Health Act updates abortion laws in a number of critical ways; as a medical procedure, abortion is moved into the Public Health Code, and out of the Criminal Code; pregnant individuals will be protected from being forced to bring a non-viable pregnancy to term; a pregnant individual’s health must be considered for access to an abortion later in a pregnancy; and all medical professionals who are licensed to provide abortions may do so, pursuant to their medical scope of practice.
The Reproductive Health Act will remove longstanding harmful and burdensome barriers to accessing reproductive health care, and will protect New Yorkers against future federal intrusion. The Assembly had kept the torch lit for years, and we were extremely pleased to be able to pass the torch to a Senate dedicated to the respect of women and the protection of their basic right to make healthcare decisions.