Nearly a week after a leaked draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court seemed to suggest an end to Roe v. Wade, New York State attorney general Letitia James announced new legislation intended to protect abortion rights in New York.
On Monday, James was joined by sponsors Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas and State Senator Cordell Cleare, whose bill would establish the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program. The program would give funds to nonprofit organizations and abortion providers to “help increase access to care, funding for uncompensated and uninsured abortion care, and providing resources to support the needs of individuals accessing abortion care,” according to the press release. The funding would help New Yorkers who are looking to access abortion care — and also individuals traveling from out of state, a prospect that grows likelier if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
“We know what happens when women are unable to control their own bodies and make their own choices and we will not go back to those dark times,” James said in a statement. “New York must lead the fight to keep abortion safe and accessible for all who seek it and this legislation spearheaded by State Senator Cleare and Assemblymember González-Rojas will ensure that low-income New Yorkers and people from states that ban abortion have access to the care they need and deserve.”
In the days after the Supreme Court opinion leaked, James has been vocal in her support, joining several rallies in support of abortion rights and even calling for an amendment to the state constitution that would enshrine the right to an abortion in New York law. During one gathering at Foley Square, James revealed her personal experience with abortion, which happened during her time on the City Council.
“I was just elected, and I was faced with a decision whether to have an abortion or not. And I chose to have an abortion,” James said to the crowd. “I walked proudly into Planned Parenthood, and I make no apologies to anyone, to no one.”