One year following Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft that contained the possible – and eventually inevitable – overruling of the precedent set in the historic case of Roe V. Wade, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul signed a pair of bills into law on Tuesday, May 2 that will drastically expand the accessibility of safe medical abortions for her constituents — particularly, those who attend SUNY and CUNY institutions.
“Today is the grim anniversary of that date, to date, the shameful regression of women’s rights in this country,” said Gov. Hochul at the legislation signing. “We are sick and tired of judges and lawmakers telling us what to do with our bodies. If there’s one thing that New Yorkers will not do, ever, is stand by and see wrong being done.”
The first bill (A1060A/S1043A) authorizes licensed physicians and certified nurse practitioners to send non-patient specific orders to pharmacies throughout the state for self-administered hormonal contraceptives — abortion pills can now be accessed legally over the counter. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, has been championing this specific legislation since the 2015-2016 session.
The second bill (A1395C/S1213B) provides access to medication abortion prescription drugs to all 64 SUNY and all 25 CUNY campuses across the state. This bill will legally protect the approximate 600,000 students that are enrolled at both SUNY and CUNY.
“The SUNY system serves more than 1.3 million students throughout the state,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “We all know that many of the campuses are in rural areas where people might not otherwise have access to care. By ensuring that our students have access to medication abortion through their health centers or local healthcare providers, we’re providing them with the freedom that they deserve. And we know that medication abortion is safe and effective. In fact, it’s been safe and effective for over 20 years. The fact that one judge can substitute his own personal beliefs over science over evidence over law is unfortunate.”
According to Pew Research Center data from 2020, the majority of impregnated individuals (57%) who had abortions were in their 20s — the average age of college students. In a Gallup study that was released two weeks ago, 72% of currently enrolled college students say that the reproductive health laws in the state where their institutions are located is important to their enrollment decision. The study also reports that 81% of currently enrolled students and 85% of unenrolled students would prefer to attend a university with greater access to reproductive health services.
Gov. Hochul has been working hard to ensure that New York remains a state where citizens have the right to choose ever since the possibility was exposed that abortions could lose their federal legality. On May 10, 2022, just a week after the Supreme Court draft leak, she announced a nation-leading $35 million investment to directly support abortion providers. She also announced a $10 million security investment to ensure the safety of abortion providers and a $25 million investment to ensure access to those seeking contraceptive care.
“These are landmark pieces of legislation that are statements of our values as New Yorkers,” said Gov. Hochul. “As always, as others fall short, we’ll continue to step up and lead the way across the country. The world is looking to New York leadership during these tumultuous times. We’ve led with a strong belief in what is right and just. What can be done to push back against the powerful forces of regression and repression that seek to strip the rights of our women; with these bills, we are standing up and fighting back. And we’re welcoming all in search of these freedoms.”