Hochul signs legislative package to protect abortion, reproductive rights for all

Gov. Kathy Hochul signs comprehensive abortion and reproductive rights package.
Office of Governor Kathy Hochul/Don Pollard

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday signed a nation-leading legislative package to immediately protect the rights of patients and empower reproductive healthcare providers in anticipation of a final decision by the Supreme Court on abortion access.

The legislation takes specific actions to address a variety of legal concerns unleashed by the Supreme Court’s leaked opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson, which would overturn the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade on the eve of its 50th anniversary.

Hochul signed the bills at the historic Great Hall of Cooper Union, while flanked by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Carl Heastie, key partners in the state legislature, as well as abortion and reproductive healthcare providers and advocates.

“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 said.

“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,” she added. “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.”

“New York refuses to sit back and allow the Supreme Court to reverse years of progress by taking away a woman’s right to make choices about her own body,” said Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado.

“We will provide a safe haven for women in New York with this nation leading package of legislation signed into law today which protects a patient’s rights and empowers reproductive healthcare providers,” he added. “New York will never stop fighting to make sure that women who are seeking safe, accessible abortion services receive them.”

Cousins said: “The leaked Supreme Court opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade sent shockwaves throughout the nation. Taking away the right to safe and legal abortion care will harm women’s health and relegate women to second-class citizens with no right to bodily autonomy.

“Since gaining the Senate Majority in 2019, the Democratic Majority has been actively working to safeguard the reproductive rights of New Yorkers, and we will once again lead the way to guarantee reproductive rights and protect New York women from harmful policies implemented around the country,” she said. “Thank you to Gov. Hochul, Speaker Heastie, and all of my members in the Democratic Conference for ensuring our rights remain safe.”

Heastie said: “Reproductive health care decisions should be made between a patient and their doctor.

“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,” he said. “Thank you to Gov. 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,” added Heastie, who traces his roots to the Bahamas.

Legislation S.9039A/A.10094A establishes a cause of action for unlawful interference with protected rights.

This will allow individuals to bring a claim against someone who has sued them or brought charges against them for facilitating, aiding, or obtaining reproductive health or endocrine care services in accordance with New York State Law.

Legislation S.9077A/A.10372A aims to provide certain legal protections for abortion service providers, those who assist someone else in obtaining an abortion, or individuals who self-manage an abortion.

This bill provides those protections by creating a statutory exception for the extradition of abortion-related offenses, prohibiting courts from cooperating with out-of-state civil and criminal cases that stem from abortions that took place legally within their borders, and providing judicial protections by prohibiting law enforcement from cooperating with anti-abortion states’ investigations regarding abortions that look place legally.

Legislation S.9079B/A.9687B prohibits professional misconduct charges against healthcare practitioners on the basis that such healthcare practitioner, acting within their scope of practice, performed, recommended or provided reproductive healthcare services for a patient who resides in a state where such services are illegal.

Legislation S.9080B/A.9718B prohibits medical malpractice insurance companies from taking any adverse action against an abortion or reproductive healthcare provider who performs an abortion or provides reproductive healthcare that is legal in the state of New York on someone who is from out of state.

Legislation S.9384A/A.9818A allows reproductive healthcare services providers, employees, volunteers, patients, or immediate family members of reproductive healthcare services providers to enroll in the State’s address confidentiality program to protect themselves from threats.

Legislation S.470/A.5499 directs the New York State Department of Health commissioner to conduct a study and issue a report examining the unmet health and resource needs facing pregnant people in New York and the impact of limited service pregnancy centers. This ensures New Yorkers have access to information and resources necessary to have healthy pregnancies with positive outcomes.

State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi said: “Today, New York is one step closer to becoming a true sanctuary state for those seeking healthcare no matter the circumstances.

“While other states are looking to criminalize abortion and gender-affirming care, New York continues to reaffirm its commitment to reproductive justice and serve as a model for the rest of our nation,” she said. “The FIRE HATE Act will protect individuals who come to New York to receive an abortion or gender-affirming care— ensuring that everyone, regardless of background, always has the right to care.

“I’d like to thank Gov. Hochul, Assemblymember Burdick, and my Legislative colleagues for prioritizing this crucial legislation and ensuring that New York remains a safe haven for reproductive care,” Biaggi added.

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal said: “Across the country, a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion is under attack. 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 Gov. 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,” Rosenthal added.