New York

With the unprecedented attacks from anti-abortion forces at the federal level, it is up to the states to respect and support access to abortion. While New York often enjoys a reputation as a progressive state, our 1970 abortion law was woefully out of date.

That’s why we’re so proud that Albany took the critical first step toward ensuring that abortion remains legal and accessible to all New Yorkers by passing the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade!

For decades, New York laws still regulated abortion as a crime, rather than a medical procedure, and maintained a Civil War-era prohibition on self-managed abortion that make women vulnerable to prosecution.

Because New York’s laws did not allow for constitutionally-protected abortion care later in pregnancy if a woman’s health is at risk or a fetus is not viable, critically-ill pregnant patients were forced to leave the state in order to get the care they need.

New York is one of a handful of states with laws from the 1800s still on the books that criminalized self-managed abortion, performed without a medical provider. Across the country, those opposed to abortion have increasingly used laws like these to investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate women.

Abortion is health care, not a criminal act.

Now that the RHA has been signed into law, New York can help shine a light on the need for proactive measures that safeguard reproductive freedom by recognizing that abortion access is a fundamental component of every person’s health, bodily autonomy, privacy, and equality — and to encourage other states to pick up the mantle.

Sign up for updates from the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) here.