State Attorney General Letitia James announced Monday new legislation to establish a state program that would provide financial resources to abortion providers in New York.
The legislation would create the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program within the New York State Department of Health (DOH). It would provide funding to abortion providers and non-profit organizations to grow the capacity of providers and meet present and future care needs.
The program would provide funding for uncompensated abortion care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay for care or their insurance status. The program also seeks to address the abortion care needs of individuals from outside of New York by awarding grant funds to non-profit organizations that provide support to individuals that travel to New York. To protect the privacy of the individuals seeking care, the legislation prohibits the state from tracking the personal information of patients through the providers that receive funds from the program.
James said at the press conference that every person in the nation should have the freedom to control their body and own healthcare, “This fundamental right is implicit in our Constitution and that right should not be abridged and, or, denied. And we are taking action today to ensure that it remains true here in New York, both for New Yorkers and for people living in states that are poised to ban abortions.”
James said New York has already experienced an uptick in the number of people coming to the state for abortions, with the Centers for Disease Control reporting for 2019 that 9% or 7,000 of abortion procedures performed in the the state were for people from out of state, “And New York, as you know, is one of the states that has the highest number of individuals coming to it to get abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, that number could grow to more than 32,000 individuals or perhaps even more. And that’s just for people traveling to New York from Ohio and Pennsylvania where they have restrictive laws and in some cases lack of access to abortion providers.”
There are currently 22 states that have laws or constitutional amendments that already exist that would allow them to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned or weakened. There are an additional four states that are likely to ban abortion in the absence of federal protections. James said these 26 states are home to more than 40 million women of reproductive age.