Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

New York Will Allot $35M to Expand Abortion Access

In anticipation of the predicted overturn of Roe v. Wade, Gov. Kathy Hochul has directed millions to increase access to safe abortions, particularly for low-income and uninsured women who may be travelling from out of state.

(TNS) — Gov. Kathy Hochul directed the state to distribute $35 million toward increasing access to safe abortions in New York, particularly for low-income or uninsured women who may be coming from states that have restricted access to abortion or move to outlaw it following the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"It's simple: If we're going to guarantee the right to an abortion, we have to guarantee access to an abortion," Hochul said during a virtual news conference Tuesday morning.

The governor also said she supports ongoing efforts in the Legislature to push for a constitutional amendment to enshrine at least the right to an abortion, if not other rights that could be dialed back on the federal level given the current makeup of the high court.

A portion of the funds, $25 million from an emergency account within the Department of Health, is expected to be used to cover potential costs for those coming from out of state for abortion, and increasing staff for current providers to meet expected demand.

The remaining $10 million, from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, will fund increased security at abortion service providers. "There's a lot of anxiety and we don't know what's going to happen, but we have to prepare for any scenario," Hochul said of ramped-up safety concerns at those facilities.

"This is a nation-leading response," Hochul said. In Oregon, a $15 million fund has been established for similar services.

The money is expected to be able to go out by the time a decision comes down from the court, Hochul said, which could happen next month. Some of the funds will go out as grants and others on a reimbursement basis, she said.

The $35 million toward expanding abortion services is a "grave misuse of state resources and an insult to millions of pro-life New Yorkers," Dennis Poust, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, said in a statement.

"Inviting women from out of state to come here to abort their unborn children is a breathtaking reminder of how far our culture has fallen," Poust said.

Bill Hammond, senior fellow for health policy at the Empire Center, questioned the method Hochul is using to spend money on abortion. About $2.9 million of emergency money is currently in the health department fund to pay for the $25 million cost.

"Hochul is effectively proposing new programs and spending money above and beyond what was contemplated in the current state budget — with no real emergency to justify a constitutional end-run," Hammond said in a tweet Tuesday.

Hochul's actions come the day after state Attorney General Letitia James threw her support behind the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Fund, legislation sponsored by two New York City Democrats that calls for $50 million for similar efforts. It would also set up the fund to reoccur next year instead of the emergency spending the state is set up to now do under the governor's direction.

"Our communities need several actions by our state and this fund will ensure that New York is a safe-access state when the Supreme Court fails us," state Assemblywoman Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, a Queens Democrat who sponsored the equity fund legislation, said in a statement Tuesday. She welcomed the announcement by Hochul, but said "we can and must go further."

Lawmakers with Hochul during the announcement Tuesday morning applauded her efforts, but characterized the money as a "down payment" toward a likely escalating price tag to meet the expected need. A regional director of Planned Parenthood said Tuesday that the organization is already seeing an uptick in women from out of state coming for abortion services.

" New York was going to need to stand up to help abortion refugees who would seek out health care services across state lines," state Sen. Liz Krueger, D- Manhattan, said at the virtual news conference.

Hochul and Democrats in the state — all of whom are up for reelection in November — have aggressively moved forward on abortion issues following Politico's reporting last week on a draft opinion from the Supreme Court's conservative majority that would overturn Roe and send the question of abortion's legality to individual states.

In a question and answer session with reporters, Hochul alluded to a recent comment from U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican gubernatorial challenger, that if elected he would appoint a pro-life health commissioner.

"Elections have consequences," she said.

State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said Democrats were using "manufactured hysteria" in a state with legal abortions to distract from their policies in the state and the concerns of New Yorkers. Hochul has pointed out that an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers support abortion.

(c)2022 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Special Projects