Governor Kathy Hochul of New York has budgeted $35 million to protect abortion providers in the state, the latest in a series of Democratic steps following a leaked opinion indicating the US Supreme Court will overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.
During a virtual briefing on Tuesday, Hochul, who is in Covid-19 isolation, said: “If we’re going to guarantee the right to an abortion, we have to guarantee access to an abortion,”
According to the governor, $25 million would go toward providing safe access to abortion providers, while $10 million will go toward security. She stated that the funds would come from the state Department of Health.
“We also have to make sure that these facilities are safe,” Hochul said. “That the workers who go there, the clinical staff, the healthcare providers, the doctors, as well as the patients, know that they are safe when they walk down the street and enter the doors because we are in a very different time right now. No one should feel unsafe accessing abortion care. And no one should feel unsafe providing that healthcare as well. So we have to be proactive, we have to get these security measures in place now.”
The draft ruling written by Justice Samuel Alito, which was leaked on May 2, would overturn the nearly 50-year precedent established by Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. However, the document was simply a draft, and justices may alter their minds and produce new drafts before the court's decision is issued in late June or early July.
“I hope that is not the final decision,” Hochul said.
Since the leak, Democratic lawmakers in New York and across the country have been looking into ways to improve or add to existing abortion protections.
Attorney General Letitia James and lawmakers in New York proposed legislation on Monday to create a state program that would provide financial support to abortion clinics in the state. New York made Roe v. Wade a state law in 2019.