New York Attorney General Letitia James previously announced that the state would take steps to try and secure abortion protection ahead of any changes to Roe v. Wade -- on Monday it was revealed that those changes in the state will start with funding.
In a news conference about protecting access to abortion rights, 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.
The state's Department of Health would be in charge of the multi-million dollar program.
This is a measure in response to last week’s leaked draft that the Supreme Court justices are prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade. A decision that could happen as early as July.
Lawmakers announced that the measure revealed Monday protects reproductive care in New York and for those from conservatives as well who could possibly end up coming to New York for abortions.
"If Roe [v. Wade] is overturned, 26 states will and/or are likely to ban abortion, and 58% of women of reproductive age or about 40 million women live in those states," James said during the news conference.
According to James' office, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, 9% or about 7,000 of the abortions performed in New York were for people from out of state. That number could increase to more than 32,000 if Roe vs. Wade is overturned.
James said a ban on abortions wouldn't stop individuals from actually getting them, rather it would stop people from obtaining safe abortions.
“Health care is a fundamental human right and abortion is an essential aspect of women’s health care,” Cleare said, adding "We will not be subject to the arbitrary whims of a politicized Supreme Court nor can we fund health care services via private fundraising — our women deserve better, and justice and equity demand it!”
Meanwhile, González-Rojas (D-NY) said New York will fight to protect the right.
"Whether you know it or not, everyone loves someone who has had an abortion," she said. "New York needs to stand with our loved ones, and fight to protect that right and access to that right, while the Supreme Court has failed us."
Wednesday is expected to be a key day in the abortion rights issue as the Senate looks to codify reproductive rights in the federal law.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says this week's vote in the Senate will show American's where every senator stands on the issue.