New York lawmakers look to increase funding for abortion providers

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) — New York’s Attorney General Letitia James and a coalition of state lawmakers and women’s rights advocates are pushing for legislation that would increase funding for abortion services in light of a leaked Supreme Court opinion on Roe v. Wade.

"Every person in this nation should have the freedom to control their own body and their own healthcare," James said.

The Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program would provide funding for abortion providers and non-profit organizations to help increase access to care, funding for uncompensated and uninsured abortion care, and providing resources to support the needs of individuals accessing abortion care.

James says that back in 2019, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows 9%, or 7,000, abortions in New York were for people from out of state. She said if Roe v. Wade is overturned that number is expected to increase nearly 500% to more than 32,000 procedures a year. That estimate is just for people who may travel from Ohio and Pennsylvania according to the Guttmacher Institute.

The authors of the bill say this roll-back of women’s health care is fundamentally unjust.

"We know it will have a particular harm on women of color, those of modest means and those already suffering disparities under our current system. We cannot and we will not let it stand," said one of the co-sponsors of the bill State Senator Cordell Cleare (D, NY-30).

The other co-sponsor, Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas (D, 34), said New York will lead the way with this legislation.

"This fund will direct money, $50 million, to the Department of Health in order to offer grants to abortion providers and nonprofits that assist people in accessing the abortion care that they need," González-Rojas said.

There’s opposition to the bill.

"The governor and attorney general have no right to force New Yorkers to pay for abortions for non-New Yorkers. New Yorkers, who already pay the highest taxes in the country, need to fight it," said New York State Conservative Party Chair Gerard Kassar.

Kassar said New York already has the most radical abortion laws in the country, allowing the termination of an unborn child right up until birth.

"But that’s not enough for Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James who now want to turn the state into a national mecca for abortion procedures wholly paid for by New York taxpayers," Kassar said.

A News10NBC Twitter poll found that 62% of the 340 people who responded do not support New York State using taxpayer funding to expand access to abortions if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court is expected to render its official decision on Roe v. Wade in late June or early July.