Comprehensive Six-Bill Package Protects Both Patients and Providers in Anticipation of Final Decision by Supreme Court on Dobbs v. Jackson
S.9039A/A.10094A Establishes a Cause of Action for Unlawful Interference with Protected Rights
S.9077A/A.10372A Relates to Legal Protection for Abortion Service Providers
S.9079B/A.9687B Prohibits Misconduct Charges Against Healthcare Practitioners for Providing Reproductive Health Services to Patients Who Reside in States Where Such Services Are Legal
S.9080B/A.9718B Prohibits Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies from Taking Adverse Action Against a Reproductive Healthcare Provider Who Provides Legal Care
S.9384A/A.9818A Includes Abortion Providers and Patients in the Address Confidentiality Program
S.470/A.5499 Authorizes a Study to Examine Unmet Health and Resource Needs and Impact of Limited Service Pregnancy Centers
Governor Hochul: "I have three messages regarding the persistent assault on women's rights, and a woman's right to determine and make her own decisions about her own body. And they are simple messages: Not here. Not now. Not ever."
Hochul: "New York has always been a beacon for those yearning to be free. And I want the world to hear that that'll never change... Reproductive freedom is a basic human right. Let me say that again, a basic human right. It's a right that this state will defend with the full power vested within our state government."
Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a nation-leading legislative package to immediately protect the rights of patients and empower reproductive healthcare providers in anticipation of a final decision by the Supreme Court on abortion access. The legislation takes specific actions to address a variety of legal concerns unleashed by the Supreme Court's leaked opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson, which would overturn the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade on the eve of its 50th anniversary. Governor Hochul signed the bills at the historic Great Hall of Cooper Union, while flanked by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Carl Heastie, key partners in the state legislature, as well as abortion and reproductive healthcare providers and advocates.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:
Thank you. Thank you everyone. First, I want to thank Laura Sparks, the President of Cooper Union for the introduction and for hosting us in this historic venue. As you said, this great hall, the very space we are in at this moment, played a pivotal role in the advancement, the long, often twisted journey, toward women's rights. From that first meeting with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who challenged the status quo as they had done in other places.
Francis Perkins, who became a leader in state government when FDR was Governor, but also went on to define a generation of support for people in their time of need during the Great Depression when FDR became President. So this is the place that women's voices need to be heard. They have been heard, and after today they'll be heard once again. And indeed they will not just be heard. They will roar. And that is what we're doing here today.
I want to thank the individuals you're going to be hearing from, as well as the countless elected officials, our Members of Congress, Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler, as well as our leaders and members of the Senate and the Assembly who are joined here today. But I mention the word "leader", and that word leader gets thrown around a lot, but I had a chance in my nine months as the Governor of the State of New York to see leadership in action with the two individuals who their conferences have empowered and entrusted them to make decisions that represent their values.
And I'm referring to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who's done an amazing job, a trailblazer in her own right, who's had to overcome much, and we have much in common, we talk a lot about what we're going through. And also a man who understands, women's advanced advancements occur when there are enlightened men who understand the challenges and that's what we have in our speaker, Carl Heastie, let's give him applause.
I want to thank our extraordinary Commission of Health, Dr. Mary Bassett, who we were able to draw upon her years of experience here in New York City, but to recruit her back from Harvard last fall, at a time when I needed a real expert. Someone who could be in the foxhole with me as we navigated through the remainder of Delta and, unbeknownst to us at the time, what Omicron would bring us. But I want to thank her for her commitment to public health. It is extraordinary. Dr. Mary Bassett
Quadira Coles is the Deputy Director of Policy for Girls for Gender Equity. I want to thank her for putting a spotlight on the needs of young women in particular. And I just want to thank the millions of allies in our state and across the nation who have come for years to our state capital. I spoke, probably, the last seven, eight years. You gather, you wear pink, oftentimes, and we talk about what would happen if anyone ever decide to overturn Roe V. Wade. And it seemed so far fetched. It seemed like we almost felt like Chicken Little, the sky is falling, the sky is falling. How many times can we say this?
My friends, the sky is on the verge of falling literally in the next week or two. That is a very real possibility. And that's why we're here today. I have three messages regarding the persistent assault on women's rights, and a woman's right to determine and make her own decisions about her own body. And they are simple messages: Not here. Not now. Not ever. Thank you.
The women of New York will never be subjugated to government mandated pregnancies because that's what will ensue if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court. This is the United States of America, where freedom and liberty are supposed to mean something. It's the rock upon which we were founded. It is supposed to mean something.
Except in the eyes of some Neanderthals who say, women are not entitled to those rights. We've endured centuries of misogyny and discrimination and domination, but they are all supposed to be over by now. This is 2022. The right to control our own bodies was supposed to be a well-settled precedent by now, or so we thought.
Must the hard-fought battles for my mother's generation, my generation, my 30 year old daughter's generation, have to be inherited by my new granddaughter's generation as well? Well, apparently so. Back in May, millions of Americans read a leaked Supreme Court memo with horror and disgust. It reconfirmed our worst of fears that the end of Roe v. Wade is actually near. But back then I said, while this decision is not final, and we pray that there's a change of heart, but I said, "I need to act now as if it is final because I'm not just going to wait for the worst and react later."
It meant to be called upon all of us as leaders and working with the legislature to do what we've always done when our rights are under attack. Here's what we do. We stand up and we fight back.
That is what we're doing. But make no mistake, this debate is not just about access because the truth is rich women, rich white women will always find a way to secure an abortion. They always did. So, this is also an attack on poor women. An attack on Black and Brown women, an attack on New Yorkers.
It's intentional, it's unrelenting. It's the continuation of the Republican's assault on women's right to an abortion. And it's been happening steadily and aggressively with each passing year. For years, they've been trying to turn back the clock on the poor women who live in places like Texas and Florida and Georgia and Oklahoma.
And now, they've finally accomplished what they wanted. Do we have a politicized Supreme Court where people, when they come for their nomination lie about their positions during their hearings under oath about what they'd actually do.
As I said, mark my words. We talk about those other states. Our heart goes out to the women in those other states, we'll be there for the women of other states. And mark my words, just never here in the State of New York, because New York has always been a beacon for those yearning to be free. And I want the world to hear that that'll never change.
We will stand up. We will fight back just like we did. When I had the privilege as Lieutenant Governor, my role as President of the Senate to preside in 2019 for the passage of the reproductive health back, basically enshrining the rights of Roe v. Wade. Thank you to the legislature for making that happen. Thank you.
And in so doing, we confirmed that reproductive freedom is a basic human right. Let me say that again, a basic human right. It's a right that this state will defend with the full power vested within our state government. But I also know that abortion rights mean little without abortion access. So, in my first budget as Governor, we made it a requirement that all health plans in New York cover abortion services.
And in May, when the Supreme Court opinion was leaked and many were busy wringing their hands, wringing their hands, what are we going to do? I challenged my team to stand up and tell me in their best judgment and based upon what legislators have already put forward, identify the immediate actions that could be taken at this time.
We acted quickly. We put together an agenda, a plan, but also started with saying resources are now needed with the support and funding from our Department of Health, thank you, Dr. Mary Bassett, with the nation leading investment of 35 million dollars to create the Abortion Services Provider Fund. First time ever. 25 million of that is to expand abortion services already here in the State of New York to ensure access for patients seeking abortion care. And believe it or not, they're already having to come from other states. Western New York Planned Parenthood, busy taking women seeking access from the State of Ohio, just three hours down the road.
That's just the beginning, my friends, that is just the beginning. We also know we have to protect these centers. So we allocated 10 million dollars in grants for reproductive healthcare centers, because we've already seen the threats of anti-abortion violence and the climate out there is just getting more extreme every single day and it's only going to get worse. So we need to be ready for that as well.
That's what we do here in New York. We don't talk, we act. We don't follow, we lead. We don't wait, we get to work. And when I announced that fund, when I announced that funding, I said, this is not our last counter measure in the fight against destruction of our freedoms. Today, we go even further. Today, I'll be signing six bills that are landmark protections for abortion providers and their patients. And we'll say once again, look to New York for a nation leading response to this crisis.
Under the first bill that I'll be signing, we're allowing New Yorkers to file lawsuits against people who are trying to limit their reproductive freedom. I want to thank sponsor Senator Biaggi and Member of the Assembly Burdick for your support in this legislation.
Number two, if a woman is wanted in another state - this is what we're talking about. This is how scary this gets. This is not some futuristic film or book, science fiction. No. If a woman is wanted under criminal charges in another state, we're going to take steps to protect them from extradition. Thank you, Senator Krueger, and thank you Assemblymember Chuck Lavine.
We're also going to be defending abortion providers from medical malpractice and licensure issues. And I thank Senator Hinchey and Member of Assembly Rosenthal, Senator Kaplan, and again, Assemblymember Rosenthal for your support on these two bills.
We're also making sure that providers and their families can keep their addresses confidential and keep themselves safe. And I thank Senator Cleare and Member of Assembly Paulin for realizing that these are people who really are heroes, what they and their staffs have to endure, and when there have been assaults and threats, I have gone to these clinics just to lend my support.
And in my home in Buffalo, I lived down the hall from an older couple who, when they learned we were going to be taking these steps a few weeks ago, the woman hugged me tightly. And I asked her why, why this was so personal to her. And she said, because my husband doctor down the hall for me had been an abortion provider before 1970.
And she says, "I was his nurse." She started crying and she says, "I can't tell you how many lives we lost because people would come in after they'd tried to abort, have an abortion at home or literally in the back alleys, and they failed." And they came in and they bled to death in their office. All these years later, this was an emotional experience for her to think that we could go back to that time.
So, we are going to protect these providers and their families. And this legislation today will accomplish that, and we're not finished with it as well. We're also going to have a task force to study the impact of limited-service pregnancy centers. We all know what that means on pregnant women. Thank you, Senator Hoylman, Member of Assembly Glick as well. Assemblymember Glick, thank you.
So this legislation is just one more way we say that New York is leading. And we'll always stand up against attacks on our bodily autonomy. That's what this is about. Because as the first female Governor of New York, I take this personally. And that's a fight I'm willing to take on, not just on behalf of the women of New York, but for women all across this nation. I refuse to go backwards, and I promise you, as long as I'm governor, we will not because these are rights have been fought for for generations and New York state has led every step of the way.
We've been trailblazing, as you mentioned early in this room, all the people who stood up against the tides of their time. So bold, so courageous. And I'm also thinking of the women who fought for the right to control their own bodies and have an abortion in New York, three years before Roe V. Wade. We were there for women then, we're there for women now, not just here, but all across this country.
But make no mistake, this is not just an attack on reproductive health and freedom. It's an attack on the very values that make New York what it is. And that's why with a stroke of a pen, I will say, not here, not in New York, not ever.