New York’s Landmark Abortion Rights Bill Protecting Roe v. Wade Decision Now Law
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law new measures expanding abortion rights in the state on Tuesday, the 46th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
The Reproductive Health Act — which was signed by the governor late Tuesday night after passing in the Senate and Assembly — establishes the right of all women seeking abortion care to access the procedure without restriction until 24 weeks of pregnancy, WNYC reported.
The law also protects the right to receive an abortion after 24 weeks if the life or health of a woman is at risk, or the fetus is not viable.
The new law would standardize constitutional abortion protections in New York if Roe v. Wade were ever overturned in the future.
“This is a major victory for women and families in New York, and sends a powerful message across the country reaffirming a basic truth: Every woman deserves the fundamental right to choose if, when, and how to grow her family,” NARAL Pro-Choice America Vice President Adrienne Kimmell said in a statement obtained by Fortune.
In recent years, reproductive rights advocates nationwide have mobilized around state-level abortion protections, according to a report from the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization committed to sexual and reproductive rights and health. The report further outlines ways that abortion rights groups and lawmakers can safeguard state-level access to the procedure.
“We celebrate today’s victory knowing that it would never have been possible without the tireless work of tenacious volunteers and countless activists, as well as the persistence of leaders in the state government,” NARAL New York Action Council Director Hannah Smolar said in the statement.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins — the first woman to lead the New York Senate — said the bill was important at a time when abortion rights are precarious. “That moment where they actually, on a national level, might reverse women’s rights is here,” she said, according to WNYC. “Today, in New York, we are saying no.”