Legislation would protect New York abortion providers who serve patients from other states

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The New York state Capitol building. (Wangkun Jia/Stock.Adobe.Com)

LONG ISLAND, NY (WSHU) –New York lawmakers and abortion-rights supporters hope to push three bills through the state Legislature that aim to protect health care practitioners who provide abortions for patients from out of state.

This comes as a draft of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling was leaked on Monday that appears to overturn Roe v. Wade. The 1973 landmark case held that women have a constitutional right to abortion until 24 weeks. NPR has independently verified the authenticity of the draft of the opinion. Drafts can and often do change before they are issued.

The proposed bills will shield practitioners in New York from arrest, subpoenas and extradition for serving those who travel to the state for abortions or have abortion pills mailed to them.

State Assemblymember Charles Lavine, D-Glen Cove, who sponsored the bills, said New York will play an active role in fighting for human rights.

“We are in for a long, drawn-out constitutional battle with respect to human rights and New York is not going to stand or sit ideally by while other states and a Supreme Court take it upon themselves to destroy those rights,” Lavine said.

Elizabeth Nash, a principal policy associate for state issues at the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C., that studies and advocates for reproductive health and abortion rights, said the bills in New York are critically important.

“Hopefully what is happening here in more progressive states is that this is lighting a fire to further protect abortion rights and to make sure access is available, not only for those who are living in progressive states, but for those who have to come to these states in order to access care,” said Nash.

The proposed legislation comes after Republicans in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky and Arizona have pushed through laws to restrict providers from performing abortions.

The bills are expected to be voted on before the end of the legislative session on June 2. That is also prior to the Supreme Court adjourning for summer recess later that month.