The New York state legislature has passed a bill that would protect medical providers in the state who provide abortion pills to patients in states where the procedure is restricted.
Under the bill, abortion providers in New York will be shielded from out-of-state attempts to pursue legal action. The bill states that officials in New York will refuse to cooperate with any outside litigation from states that have outlawed abortion. It adds that New York providers are protected as long as they're in compliance with state law.
The bill passed the State Assembly Tuesday by a vote of 99-45 after clearing the Senate last month by a vote of 39-22.
"As anti-choice extremists continue to roll back reproductive care across the country, New York remains a sanctuary state for access," New York House Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement. "It is our moral obligation to help women across the country with their bodily autonomy by protecting New York doctors from litigation efforts from anti-choice extremists. Telehealth is the future of healthcare, and this bill is simply the next step in making sure our doctors are protected."
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Currently, New York law does not offer abortion providers protection from out-of-state litigation over telehealth, putting doctors in the state at risk if they choose to provide reproductive health services to residents in states with abortion restrictions.
Medication abortion has been available in the United States since the Food and Drug administration approved the use of mifepristone in 2000. It is used in conjunction with the drug misoprostol, which blocks a necessary hormone for gestation and causes the uterus to contract and expel a pregnancy. By 2020, medication abortion accounted for more than half of all abortions in the U.S., according to the Guttmacher Institute.
The New York bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Kathy Hochul, and she is expected to sign it into law.
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