abortion law

Abortion Rights in New York: What's the Law If Roe v. Wade Is Overturned?

A Supreme Court abortion ruling is due this summer, but Politico reported a draft of that ruling would overturn Roe v. Wade and let states criminalize abortion again

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A bombshell report from Politico suggests the U.S. Supreme Court could be on the verge of striking down the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling and letting states criminalize abortion - but that doesn't necessary mean it'd be illegal everywhere.

Some states have already enacted laws specifically legalizing abortion regardless of Roe, and those laws may hold regardless of the ruling.

The unprecedented leak to Politico indicates that a draft opinion (written by New Jersey's Justice Samuel Alito) following oral arguments last December had the backing of five justices to completely overturn Roe vs Wade.

Assuming the draft is real, it still hasn't been formally issued and isn't the law of the land yet. The Supreme Court declined to comment to NBC News on the report, and NBC News has not obtained nor confirmed the draft. It is also possible that the justices' final vote and decision may change.

Abortion Laws

But the questions are already flying fast and furious about what happens next in various states with their abortion laws.

In New York, abortion rights would theoretically be protected by the 2019 Reproductive Health Act.

In the words of the state Senate, the point of the law was to "codify Roe v. Wade protections into state law."

The bill was signed into law in early 2019. Then-governor Andrew Cuomo celebrated the signing by having One World Trade Center lit up in pink that night.

In addition to codifying Roe vs Wade, the act moved abortion regulations into the state's health code, expanded who could provide abortions and also extended the window in which women could have abortions.

After the Politico report, Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Twitter that it was "an absolutely disgraceful attack on our fundamental right to choose, and we will fight it with everything we've got. Let me me loud and clear: New York will always guarantee your right to abortion. You have our word."

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 16 states and the District of Columbia have laws that explicitly protect the right to abortion to varying degrees.

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