New York, NY – On May 3, a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court to overturn the decades-long laws, Roe V. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey shook the country. Five Supreme Court justices formed the opinion draft, with Justice Samuel Alito writing, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”
After news of the leaked draft, thirteen states, including Louisiana and Texas, took the chance to draft their own state laws that would take away abortion access as well as access to contraceptives, IVF, and birth control. Legal experts have urged the public that nothing has been set in stone as of yet and the justices still have time to change their minds. “It’s not done inside the Supreme Court until the opinion is ready to be released,” Stephen Wermiel, a constitutional law professor at American University Washington College of Law, told The City.
New York took the opposite direction —they decided to be a safe haven for those seeking abortions. As of now, 13 states in the country have trigger laws which ban abortions, and 26 states have abortion laws ready to go that are currently blocked, but could more than likey go into effect if Roe V. Wade is overturned. In 2019, New York lawmakers made access to abortioin in the state completely legal along with the New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF), which provides access for low-income families and out of state travelers. Earlier this year, Assemblymember Jessica Gonzáles-Rojas (D-Queens) and State Sen. Samra G. Brouk (D-Monroe/Ontario), introduced a legislation that increases insurance coverage for abortion care in New York.
This isn’t the first time New York has stood as a safe haven for abortion seekers. In 1970, three years before Roe V. Wade went into law, the state made abortion legal resulting in thousands of people from out of state flooding in to have access to safe and legal abortions.
Since 2020, $250,000 each year has been allocated for the New York Abortion Action Fund. “Expanding that pot of money is a huge thing that the Council can readily do as we anticipate more and more folks seeking access to states like New York,” said advocate Sasha Neha Ahuja to The City. New York state is taking effort to ensure they are ready for the potential influx of people from out of state. If the law is overturned, New York could be the closest access for 190,000 to 280,000 women out of state.
It’s good to remember that Roe v. Wade is still in effect and constitutionally protected. Ways New Yorkers and really anyone can help is to call your representatives in Congress and ask to codify Roe as well as donating to local abortion access funds.