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Gov. Hochul says New Yorkers' right to abortion is protected after Roe v. Wade overturned

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Mike Groll/Mike Groll/Office of Governor Ka
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flickr.com
Governor Kathy Hochul participates in a Planned Parenthood rally outside the State Capitol in Albany.

In New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul and the legislature took preemptive steps to protect abortion rights in anticipation of the high court’s decision.

Hochul, in a statement issued moments after the ruling was announced, said “This decision is a grave injustice.”

Hochul says recent actions in the state will help keep abortion safe, legal and accessible.

“History shows us that when abortion is banned, abortion becomes unsafe for women,” the governor said. “Low-income individuals and people of color will be harmed the most.”

New York in early June took several steps to protect the right to an abortion for patients both from New York and from states where the procedure will now be banned , now that Roe has been overturned. They include prohibitions on other states to extradite a patient or a health care practitioner to face abortion-related charges if the procedure was conducted legally in New York. The state also does not have to honor a subpoena request from another state if it relates to abortion services in New York.

And health care professionals can’t be charged with professional misconduct or be denied medical malpractice insurance for performing a legal abortion.

The state budget designated $25 million dollars to support abortion care facilities in New York, and an additional $10 million dollars to beef up security at the clinics.

A proposal for an amendment enshrining abortion rights into the state’s constitution has not yet been approved by the governor and the legislature.

Three years ago, New York updated the 1970 laws that legalized abortion in the state and codified the abortion rights in Roe v. Wade into state law.

Hochul said the amendment got bogged down, though, in details over the exact wording of the amendment.

“They are close,” Hochul said. “It is simply a matter of language changes.”

Hochul is not ruling out an agreement on an amendment before the end of the year, but she says it might not be fully resolved until next year, meaning the earliest date the measure could go before voters would be 2025.

State Attorney General Tish James, in a statement, said “Today’s ruling is a vicious, dangerous, and deliberate attack on our most basic freedom as humans. Every single person in this country should have the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies”.

James promised that New York will always be a “ safe haven” for anyone seeking an abortion, and she says she will “work tirelessly” to preserve that access.

Anti-abortion groups praised the court’s decision.

Jason McGuire, with New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, an evangelical Christian lobbying group, said he and his group “sometimes doubted that we would live to see the day when our prayers would be answered.”

He says the court has ruled “correctly” that there is no constitutional right to abortion.

New York State’s Catholic Bishops, in a statement, said that they “give thanks to God for today’s decision.”

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment and interviews newsmakers. Karen previously worked for WINS Radio, New York, and has written for numerous publications, including Adirondack Life and the Albany newsweekly Metroland.