Cuomo signs Reproductive Health Act updating 49-year-old state law on abortion

Courtesy Cuomo’s office

With the stroke of his pen, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law new legislation to protect and expand abortion rights across the state.

The measures protect women’s reproductive rights by ensuring New Yorkers can make personal healthcare decisions and medical professionals can provide crucial services without fear of criminal penalty. The RHA codifies Roe v. Wade into New York state law.

“In the face of a federal government intent on rolling back Roe v. Wade and women’s reproductive rights, I promised that we would pass this critical legislation within the first 30 days of the new session — and we got it done,” Cuomo said on Jan. 22. “Today, we are taking a giant step forward in the hard-fought battle to ensure a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own personal health, including the ability to access an abortion. With the signing of this bill, we are sending a clear message that whatever happens in Washington, women in New York will always have the fundamental right to control their own body.”

State Senator Michael Gianaris, the deputy leader in the upper chamber, hailed the passage of the the proposals, which had been blocked for years while Republicans controlled the state Senate. Passed on the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, the RHA codifies that decision into New York law and modernize New York’s statutes to protect women’s rights.

The Senate majority also passed the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act that will ensure insurance companies cover FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices and products. Additionally, the Boss Bill that passed will prevent an employer’s religious beliefs from infringing on women’s health care decisions. The Senate majority, together with the Assembly majority, passed these three important bills through the legislature swiftly to ensure New York state again becomes a leader in the fight to protect and expand women’s rights.

“Protecting women’s health choices empowers New Yorkers to plan families and make the right medical decisions for them,” Gianaris said. “I am proud to support these proposals and am honored to be part of the new New York Senate that is enacting these bills.”

At City Hall, Mayor Bill de Blasio thanked the Senate and the Assembly for passing the Reproductive Health Act, and the governor for signing it into law.

“It is crucial that we protect a woman’s right to the full spectrum of reproductive health care, particularly at this moment in history when those rights are under attack nationally,” de Blasio said. “It’s beyond time the state’s abortion law is moved out of the criminal code and into Public Health Law where it belongs, and there’s no better day to do it than of the 46th anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. I further commend the legislation for protecting access to comprehensive contraceptive care and ensuring no no employer can discriminate against an employee for her reproductive health decisions.”

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