Legislation (S.1066B/A.1709B) Ensures New York Providers Can Prescribe Medication Abortion and Deliver Reproductive Health Care Through Telehealth Services to Patients in States Where Abortion Services are Outlawed or Restricted
Expands Current Law Signed by Governor Hochul in 2022 to Protect New York Health Care Providers Delivering Abortion and Reproductive Health Services to Out-of-State Patients Physically in New York
Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation (S.1066B/A.1709B) into law to strengthen access to reproductive health care and protect patients and doctors who require abortion care through telehealth services. This legislation expands the current law to ensure doctors, medical providers, and facilitators in the state are able to provide telehealth services to patients outside of New York without fear of litigation in states where abortion services are outlawed or restricted.
"We are witnessing a shameful regression of women's rights in this country as abortion access is restricted in states across the nation,” Governor Hochul said. “In New York, we remain committed to ensuring abortion remains safe, accessible, and legal. This legislation will help more women access medication abortion and reproductive care by ensuring our health care providers can deliver telehealth services to out-of-state patients without fear of legal or professional repercussions. With this bill, New York is continuing to fight back against restrictive abortion laws and help more people access the care they need."
Legislation (S.1066B/A.1709B) will help ensure more women can access reproductive health care and abortion services by prohibiting state law enforcement from cooperating with cases prosecuting doctors in New York who use telehealth services to prescribe medication abortion or deliver any reproductive health care to people in states with restrictive abortion laws. It also ensures that providers who comply with their practice are not subject to professional discipline from medical malpractice insurance companies for delivering these reproductive telehealth services to out-of-state-patients. This legislation expands the current law that Governor Hochul signed in June 2022 to protect New York health care providers of abortions when an out-of-state patient is physically present in New York.
In New York, we remain committed to ensuring abortion remains safe, accessible, and legal."
New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “This legislation will protect health care providers as they practice medicine and take care of their patients’ health needs. That protection is a fundamental part of being someone’s doctor. I thank Governor Hochul for her leadership on this issue, and for doing what she can to help keep abortion safe, accessible, and legal in New York State.”
Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "New York will not stand idly by while women's rights are chipped away around us. Our state is a longstanding safe harbor for those seeking refuge and the Shield Act provides necessary protection to doctors who are providing critical reproductive health care to women across our country. I'd like to thank Senator Shelley Mayer for sponsoring this legislation in our chamber, and ensuring New York is doing all it can to fight against these horrific rollbacks on abortion rights. As we reach the one year mark of Roe being overturned, I'd also like to thank Governor Hochul for taking swift action to sign this bill into law ensuring these protections."
State Senator Shelley Mayer said, “This is another historic moment in New York State's nation-leading role protecting the right to reproductive health services, including abortion. By signing this bill today, Governor Hochul again leads the nation on this issue. This law authorizes licensed New York health care providers, in accordance with New York law, to provide telehealth services and prescribe medication abortion to women living outside New York State. I extend my gratitude to the providers, advocates, legal experts and legislative colleagues, especially my partner Assemblymember Karines Reyes, Speaker Carl Heastie and my courageous Senate Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who worked to craft a national model for this effort. We are fighting back, not backing down, for the rights that were stolen from us in the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Thank you to everyone who made this historic day possible."
Assemblymember Karines Reyes, R.N said, “As a medical professional myself, I applaud Governor Hochul for signing my bill to fully protect abortion providers using telemedicine into law. I continue to be deeply concerned with anti-choice activists’ efforts to undermine doctors in their ability to adequately provide for their patients and to undermine the patient’s control of their own body. These anti-choice bills have a tangibly negative impact on patients’ health and well-being and New York refuses to stand for it.”
President of The New York Academy of Medicine Dr. Ann Kurth said, “Protecting providers of reproductive healthcare is a critical step to ensuring a continuum of access to care for patients. We are thrilled to be part of this historic moment supporting the efforts of Governor Hochul as she ensures New York State continues its leadership in equitable access to reproductive healthcare.”
Co-Founder of ACT Access and Member of the NYS Academy of Family Physicians Dr. Linda Prine said, “I enthusiastically praise the signing of the telemedicine shield law so that I and other health providers in New York can provide medication abortion care to people in need across state lines using my NY medical license. I am so grateful to Governor Hochul for signing this landmark legislation, which could not have happened without the courage and stamina of the bill sponsors, Senator Mayer and Assemblywoman Reyes. I am so proud that my home state has stepped up and demonstrated that it has the humanity to counteract the cruelty of the abortion bans across the US with this measure.”
As part of the FY 2024 Budget, Governor Hochul announced major actions to protect abortion access and solidify New York's status as a safe harbor for all who seek abortion care. The Budget increases Medicaid reimbursement rates to boost New York abortion access, enacts additional data protections for patients seeking reproductive health care, requires private insurers to cover medication abortion when prescribed off-label for abortion, and allocates $100.7 million in new funding to support abortion providers and reproductive health care.
In May 2023, Governor Hochul signed legislation to allow pharmacists to dispense contraception over the counter as well as a bill to ensure all public colleges and universities in the SUNY and CUNY systems offer access to medication abortion. In April 2023, the Governor announced significant steps to protect access to medication abortion in New York.
Earlier this year, Governor Hochul announced the release of over $1.68 million in grants through New York State's Securing Reproductive Health Centers Program, which helps ensure safe access to reproductive health and abortion services statewide. That funding was part of a 2022 commitment of $35 million in statewide funding to providers in order to strengthen New York's reproductive health care system following the Dobbs decision.