After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade more than two months ago, chaos ensued in the country. There has been a lot of confusion about the details of the ruling and its applications. As of now, 10 states have explicitly declared abortion illegal, four states ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, 16 states explicitly protect abortion rights, and many others still have their fate undecided.
New York is one of the states that explicitly protect abortion rights, but there is still uncertainty about the application and limitations of the laws. Can women from other states access health care in New York? Is the system well equipped to avoid exhaustion?
On July 29 in a public hearing, Mayor Eric Adams addressed the details of abortion rights in New York City. “We are not going to stand by while an activist court undermines 50 years of settled law and personal freedom by overturning Roe v. Wade,” said Adams.
“Safe, legal abortions are cornerstones of public health, and in New York City, they will always be, and we will always support those coming to New York to access those rights,” Adams continued, therefore confirming the application of the bills to women out of state.
The City Council also recently passed a bill to provide access to abortion pills at every city-run clinic. “New York City has always been a leader in protecting reproductive health and rights,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera in an interview with The New York Post. The bill was passed 41-7 and allowed clinics to provide counseling and prescriptions as required.
Many young women, especially those belonging to the poorer section of society, have also been stressed about the extent of their reproductive rights. Colleges and universities in New York City like NYU, Columbia and Barnard released statements in June about access to health care and wellness. Barnard offers free gynecology counseling to all students and provides access to abortions too. Planned Parenthood and other health clinics all over NYC have been extremely responsive in providing resources for young women.
Many big organizations have held events and panels in NYC to educate the public on the future of reproductive health care. On July 21, the New York Times organized an event where the major issues raised by the end of Roe were addressed by medical and legal professionals. Both local experts, like Kimberly Mutcherson, a law professor at Rutgers University, and national medical professionals, like Dr. David Hackney, an expert in maternal-fetal medicine with a practice in Ohio, offered personal accounts of patients who had abortions.
Ever since Roe v. Wade was overturned, there have been numerous protests and rallies all over the country. On July 15, two new bills were passed in the House which gave women the right to travel to other states for abortion and allowed health care providers to perform abortion services. This bill was also supported by three Republicans in addition to the Democrats. Although no bill has advanced to the Senate as there weren’t enough votes, the Democrats celebrated their small victory as the bill was passed. After restrictions have been placed on abortions, polling shows there has been a steady increase in support for reproductive rights.