New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday that the state will send $35 million to abortion providers for expanded services and increased security as the nation prepares for the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade this summer.
The Democratic governor said in her announcement that New York must prepare for a surge in abortion patients from other states as several GOP-led states are expected to impose abortion restrictions if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
"To truly ensure that anyone seeking an abortion in New York has access to them, we have to ensure that the providers have the resources and the capacity to accommodate all patients who walk through their doors," Hochul said.
Hochul's office said the abortion providers will receive $25 million in grants and reimbursements from a Department of Health emergency fund to be used for expanded access to services, and the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services will give $10 million for improved security at the facilities.
"No one should feel unsafe accessing healthcare, abortion care, and no one should feel unsafe providing that healthcare as well," the governor said in her remarks.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said Monday she had supported a similar measure to offer $50 million in funding to abortion providers.
This comes after Politico published a draft opinion from Justice Samuel Alito last week indicating that the Supreme Court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade. The court ruled in the landmark 1973 decision that a woman had a constitutional right to an abortion under the 14th Amendment's right to privacy. The court's final ruling is not expected to be handed down until late June or early July.
Hochul is also backing a proposed state constitutional amendment to ensure abortion access and prohibit discrimination on factors such as race, as well as "pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes." The state legislature would have to pass the proposal in two legislative session years and then voters would need to approve the measure.
New York's Democratic-controlled legislature has increased abortion access in recent years by allowing more abortions after 24 weeks, removing abortion from the state’s penal code and permitting women to access abortion medication services through telemedicine visits.
In 2019, then New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed a radical law defending Roe v. Wade and making abortion a "fundamental right." The law allowed abortion throughout pregnancy in the name of protecting a woman’s health, and repealed protections for babies who survive abortion. The law also removed New York’s protections for wanted babies and their mothers, which were part of the state’s criminal code on fetal homicide.
The state budget was used this year to approve a law to preserve current regulations requiring all insurance plans to cover every kind of abortion. But the law is facing an ongoing legal challenge by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.
Hochul also explained in her comments Tuesday that she is calling on the federal government to eliminate the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortions, except to save the mother's life, or in situations involving rape or incest.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.