Jul 1, 2022 - Health

New York advances constitutional amendment to protect abortion access

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

New York lawmakers advanced an amendment on Friday to enshrine the right to get an abortion in the state's constitution, a week after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The big picture: The amendment passed in the state Senate and Assembly during an extraordinary session that Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) called. The process to change the New York Constitution requires that lawmakers pass the change during the next regular legislative session, as well. Advocates hope voters will be able to decide on the amendment in 2024.

  • In general, New Yorkers will not get to vote on the bill during this year's upcoming election.

Don't forget: Access to abortion before viability is already protected in New York under state law.

  • Earlier this month, Hochul also signed into law a series of bills to protect abortion providers in the state, as well as patients coming from out-of-state to access the procedure, from bans in red states.

Details: The Equal Rights Amendment says that "[n]o person shall be denied equal rights under the laws of this state or any subdivision thereof based on that person's race, color, ethnicity, national origin, disability, or sex including pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression."

  • New York State Senator Liz Krueger said in the bill's summary that it is important to include discrimination based on pregnancy (which includes abortion) because "a lack of clarity on whether pregnancy discrimination transgresses the federal constitution still exists."

Zoom out: New York joins California and Vermont as a state taking steps to make abortion access a state constitutional right.

  • Voters in California and Vermont will get to choose in November whether they wish to amend their respective state constitutions in support of abortion rights.

Go deeper: Where abortion access is guaranteed without Roe v. Wade

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