Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday that New York will make $35 million available to help abortion providers boost services and security if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
The Democrat said the state has to get ready for a potential influx of out-of-state patients seeking abortions from states that ban the procedure, calling it an "urgent issue."
Hochul said she’ll use an emergency Department of Health fund to provide grants and reimbursements to abortion providers, including $25 million for increasing access to services and $10 million for security upgrades at a time when the governor said abortion providers are facing low staffing levels and fears over their providers’ safety.
The governor said that the money is already in the state budget and set aside for spending on health emergencies.
"The money is there for emergency purposes. I consider this an emergency," she said, adding that the steps taken were "unprecedented."
This news comes a day after New York Attorney General Letitia James -- alongside State Senator Cordell Cleare and Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas -- announced new legislation to establish a state program that would provide financial resources to abortion providers in New York.
The Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program would be a dedicated state program that would earmark roughly $50 million in funding to abortion care and providers. This would include funding for training, staffing, security, and even funding to cover the uninsured.
It also comes as Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed a new law that will protect providers and patients who come to the state from places where abortion may be illegal. The law also expands the category of health professional that can provide an abortion, which is aimed at reducing wait times for the procedure.
"Making sure we have more access to abortion, more access to reproductive choices, more people able to perform this. Less of a wait. That’s what we’ve done in this bill," Lamont said. "And if you try and come after our doctors, you try and come after women who come to our state or women in this state, not going to happen here, we will protect you."
These actions are taking place in direct response to the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would throw out the landmark Roe vs. Wade abortion rights ruling has spurred Democratic leaders in several states to consider steps to increase access to abortion services. A final ruling is not expected until the end of the court’s term in late June or early July.
In February, Oregon launched a $15 million fund to provide grants to Oregon nonprofits to expand access to abortions. In Vermont, voters this fall will consider an abortion rights amendment to the state constitution.
Hochul is also backing a proposed state constitutional amendment to guarantee abortion rights in New York.