Protecting & Strengthening Abortion Rights

Protecting & Strengthening Abortion Rights

Overview

Overview

Your right to an abortion is protected in New York State.

Abortion has been legal in New York since 1970 – three years before the Roe v. Wade decision permitted abortion throughout the country. In 2019, New York's Reproductive Health Act further strengthened abortion rights. With these protections in place, any federal decisions to limit access to abortion will not impact abortion rights in New York, and Governor Hochul is taking action to keep abortion safe, affordable, and available to all who need.


2023 Actions

2023 Actions

2023 State of the State Actions

In her 2023 State of the State, Governor Hochul announced new actions to solidify New York’s status as a safe harbor for all who seek abortion care:

  • Increase reimbursement rates for reproductive health providers. As other states have banned abortion and shut down clinics, New York's reproductive health care system is facing unprecedented pressure. To address this and make sure all who need reproductive health care can access it, Governor Hochul will increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for health providers.
  • Implement over-the-counter contraception access. Governor Hochul is proposing legislation to expand access to hormonal contraception by allowing pharmacists to directly prescribe such medications, helping to address disparities for marginalized populations who are more likely to live closer to a pharmacy than a physician's office.
  • Safeguard abortion access through data privacy protections. Governor Hochul is proposing legislation to protect the personal data, including location history and search history, of anyone who seeks abortion care in New York.
  • Ensure abortion access at public college campuses. Governor Hochul will ensure all public colleges and universities in the SUNY and CUNY systems either offer medication abortion in their college health centers or establish a relationship with a local reproductive health care provider to directly refer students to a trusted facility for abortion services, an approach that will improve students’ access to abortion while allowing institutions to meet their needs in the way that best fits their campus infrastructure.
  • Enact the equal rights amendment. In July 2022, the New York State Legislature passed a resolution in support of the state Equal Rights Amendment, the first step toward amending the New York State Constitution to protect abortion rights. The Legislature passed the resolution a second time in January 2023 so that it now may go to the voters on the ballot in 2024.

Expanding Access to Reproductive Health Care

Expanding Access to Reproductive Health Care

Expanding Access to Reproductive Health Care in New York State and Nationwide

On February 20, 2023, Governor Hochul joined 20 other states in forming the Reproductive Freedom Alliance. The Alliance is a non-partisan coalition of 21 Governors committed to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom in their states.

On May 10, 2022, Governor Hochul announced a nation-leading, $35 million investment in direct support to reproductive health care providers to expand abortion access and ensure patient, provider, and staff safety. This groundbreaking new fund builds on a series of legislative and regulatory efforts to expand access to the full range of reproductive health services.

On May 6, 2022, Governor Hochul urged the federal government to take action to guarantee the right to an abortion in federal law. Governor Hochul has appealed to Congressional leadership to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), eliminate the discriminatory Hyde Amendment, and protect access to telehealth abortion services across the country.

In the 2023 budget, Governor Hochul enshrined into law a requirement that health plans in New York must cover abortion services, without co-pays or deductibles.

Her 2023 budget also expanded the Family Planning Grant Program, maintaining state funding for reproductive health services as New York reenters the federal Title X program. Federal dollars provide $11.8 million, bringing the overall program to over $50 million.

The Governor is also prioritizing measures to reduce racial disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity, including:

  • Expanding postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to one year postpartum (regardless of immigration status)
  • $20 million for improved access to prenatal and postpartum services, including increased Medicaid reimbursement rates for midwives, expanded nutrition services, services by Licensed Clinical Social Workers, peer counseling, and patient navigation services

Strengthening New York State’s Law

Strengthening New York State’s Law

On June 13, 2022, Governor Hochul signed into law a package of six bills to immediately protect the rights of patients and 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 facing providers and patients.

On May 3, 2022, Governor Hochul signed new legislation to further advance medical rights here in New York, ensuring health policy is protected by experts in women’s health, and not by politics.

In January 2022, under Governor Hochul’s direction, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) finalized regulations to ensure that our abortion law in New York is aligned with clinical standards, provides a safe and non-stigmatizing experience for patients, and that providers can offer abortion telehealth services without unnecessary barriers.

DOH operates an Abortion Access Working Group, which meets regularly with a panel of providers, patients, advocates, and other stakeholders to guide state policy and immediately respond to on-the-ground needs. DOH also issued guidance to providers to make sure they feel confident operating under the clear parameters of New York state law.