ALBANY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Monday announced he is proposing to once and for all guarantee a woman’s right to choose in New York by codifying the protections established by the 1973 Roe v. Wade into the state constitution. This would ensure these protections remain in place in New York in the event this decision is overturned, or altered by a new U.S. Supreme Court.
“As Washington seeks to limit women’s rights, we seek to protect them, and as they threaten reproductive rights, I propose a constitutional amendment to write Roe v. Wade into the New York State Constitution to prevent any attack on the right to choose,” Governor Cuomo said. “We will not allow the progress of the women’s movement to be stopped, and we must seize this opportunity to bring the state and the nation forward and stand up for women’s health. Make no mistake, we will always protect the right to choose in New York.”
The Governor made the announcement at the “I Stand with Planned Parenthood” rally and Family Planning Advocates’ Day of Action, in front of a crowd of 1600 activists and Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood.
Roe v. Wade
The landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, held that the United States Constitution protects the right of a woman to choose to terminate her pregnancy prior to fetal viability or throughout pregnancy when it is necessary to preserve her life or health. In the 40 years since the decision, its core ruling has been continually upheld and the right to an abortion has been affirmed as constitutionally protected.
Securing Reproductive Health in New York
This announcement follows Governor Cuomo’s recent actions earlier this month to secure reproductive health services in New York. Under Governor Cuomo’s direction, the state took regulatory action to ensure that insurers:
Provide coverage for all contraceptive drugs and devices and coverage for at least one form of contraception in each of the FDA-approved contraceptive delivery methods without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles, regardless of the future of the Affordable Care Act.
Provide coverage for the dispensing of an initial three-month supply of a contraceptive to an insured person. For subsequent dispensing of the same contraceptive prescribed by the same health care provider and covered under the same policy or renewal, an insurer must allow coverage for the dispensing of the entire prescribed contraceptive supply, up to 12 months, at the same time.
Provide coverage for abortion services that are medically necessary without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles (unless the plan is a high deductible plan).
Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said, “We applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership in New York to call for Roe v. Wade to be recognized in state law.We know that 7 in 10 Americans support Roe v. Wade and want to see it remain the law of the land. At a time when access to reproductive rights is under attack, we are grateful to champions across the nation who stand with the 2.5 million patients Planned Parenthood health centers care for with a whole range of health services, from birth control and cancer screenings to yes, safe and legal abortion. New Yorkers, like all Americans, deserve access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health care.”
Kim Atkins, Board Chair, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, said, “Roe v. Wade handed down one of the most important legal rulings in our nation’s history, and it is imperative that we uphold the right to choose. With that federal protection under threat, it is more necessary than ever before that states stand up for reproductive rights, and Governor Cuomo is leading the nation by proposing this amendment in New York. With a constitutional amendment, that right will be guaranteed by the state constitution, so that it cannot be stripped away, no matter what happens at the federal level. Thank you, Governor Cuomo, for standing tall for the right to choose in New York.”