Hochul Signs Landmark Legislation Protecting Abortion and Reproductive Rights

J.M. Lesinski

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A shot of a field in Upstate New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed a landmark package of legislation aimed at protecting reproductive healthcare providers and their patients. The legislation comes in anticipation of the final decision from the Supreme Court on nationwide access to abortion, which has yet to be determined.

"Reproductive rights are human rights, and today we are signing landmark legislation to further protect them and all who wish to access them in New York State. The women of New York will never be subjected to government mandated pregnancies. Not here. Not now. Not ever," Hochul remarked of the legislative package. "Today, we are taking action to protect our service providers from the retaliatory actions of anti-abortion states and ensure that New York will always be a safe harbor for those seeking reproductive healthcare. New York has always been a beacon for those yearning to be free. And I want the world to hear — loud and clear — that will not change."

Legislation passed includes S.9039A/A.10094A, which creates a cause of action for unlawful interference with protected rights, S.9077A/A.10372A, which provides legal protections to abortion service providers by creating a statutory exception for the extradition of abortion-related offenses and prohibits courts from cooperating with out-of-state civil and criminal cases that stem from legal abortions within their borders, and S.9080B/A.9718B, which forbids medical malpractice insurance companies from taking action against an abortion or reproductive healthcare provider who performs an abortion or offers reproductive healthcare on someone from out of state.

"Reproductive health care decisions should be made between a patient and their doctor,” stated New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie of the legislative package. “The bills being signed into law today will ensure that the medical professionals that provide these critical and lifesaving practices are protected from retaliation by states that are restricting those rights. Thank you to Governor Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and my Assembly Majority colleagues for working together to get this done. We will keep fighting to protect women's bodily autonomy, their right to make their own health care decisions, and the doctors and nurses and everyone that ensures that women have access to reproductive healthcare."

Further legislation passed includes S.9384A/A.9818A, which grants reproductive healthcare services providers, employees, volunteers, patients, and immediate family members to register in the State's address confidentiality program to protect themselves from threats, S.470/A.5499 which mandates the New York State Department of Health commissioner execute a study and make a report on unmet health and resource needs facing pregnant individuals in New York state, and S.9079B/A.9687B, which bans the filing of misconduct charges against healthcare practitioners for providing reproductive health services to patients residing in states where it is illegal.

"Across the country, a woman's right to safe and legal abortion is under attack,” New York State Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal noted of the legislative package. “As some states work to block access to safe abortions and deprive women of the right to make their own healthcare decisions, and in anticipation of the US Supreme Court's decision striking down Roe, New York State is pushing back and doing everything in our power to safeguard abortion access. I thank Governor Hochul for signing this reproductive rights package into law, including my two bills to protect healthcare providers against professional discipline measures and adverse actions affecting medical malpractice insurance. With these laws, New York's healthcare professionals can continue to provide abortion and reproductive healthcare services for all women, including the many who will be traveling here from out of state, without fear of consequence, no matter the decision that is ultimately handed down by the Supreme Court."

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY
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