New York expands abortion access in landmark bill that codifies Roe V. Wade

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo advanced women's rights
Screen capture by News Channel 9 WSYR Syracuse via YouTube video

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed into law a new measure that protects and expand women’s access to abortion throughout the state. The legislation codifies Roe V. Wade, even if the landmark decision is overturned by the United States Supreme Court, The Huffington Post reports.

The Reproductive Health Act was signed into law Tuesday night after passing in both the Senate and the Assembly.

In the current political climate with a conservative-led Supreme Court, some Democrats have been worried Roe V. Wade could be overturned. But that won’t happen in New York, thanks to Cuomo and the Democrats who propelled this forward.

And Cuomo addressed the issue in a press release.

“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,” he said. “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.”

But the law doesn’t just make sure abortions are accessible, it also removes the procedure from the state’s criminal code. Previously, the code made it illegal after 24 weeks unless the woman’s life was in jeopardy.

Now the option is available after that point if a fetus is not viable, or if a woman’s life or health is at stake.

Republicans (who else?) have been blocking this legislation for years, but now that Democrats control the chambers of both state legislatures, the measure sailed right through, The Hill reports.

And now that the law is regulated under public health law instead of criminal law, nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, and licensed midwives will be able to perform the procedure.

Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the state’s Senate Majority Leader lauded the move as real progress for women.

“New York once led the way on choice and women’s rights,” she said. “Unfortunately for years, barriers to women’s rights were put up, and our state has fallen behind. Today we are tearing those barriers down and we are now leading the way again.”

Unsurprisingly, the bill has many pro-life advocates who would like to burn the very paper it was signed on. New York State Right To Life slammed the measure as “an extreme bill” and vowed to fight to “protect children and their mothers, protect the life of pro-life persons to engage in life-saving activities and express their views, and to build a culture of Life in New York.”

Does that mean that mean they are willing to protect women when another religious person like Robert Louis Dear, Jr. shoots up a Planned Parenthood office? Or provide financial support for all those babies they wish to save?

Kudos to Governor Cuomo and the Democrats who have furthered women’s reproductive rights in New York.

Here are Cuomo’s remarks in the video below. The video following that features commentary from Stewart-Cousins.

Featured image by News Channel 9 WSYR Syracuse via YouTube video