(NEW YORK) — A week after the U.S. Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, ending a nearly 50-year precedent, several governors are moving to protect abortion rights in their states.
On Friday, New York is expected to pass a constitutional amendment guaranteeing access to abortion during a special session initially called to rewrite state gun permit laws in the wake of another Supreme Court decision that rolled back the state’s concealed carry restrictions.
The measure, which has been supported by Gov. Kathy Hochul, would codify the right to an abortion and the right to contraception in the state’s constitution. It would also update the existing Equal Rights Amendment to extend protections to several new classes, including on the basis of sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, reproductive healthcare and autonomy), disability, national origin, ethnicity and age.
The state Senate passed the measure Friday afternoon, sending it to the Assembly, which is also expected to pass it. An amendment to the state’s constitution would ultimately be decided by voters in a referendum after passing two separately elected state legislatures.
We refuse to stand idly by while the Supreme Court attacks the rights of New Yorkers.
I am issuing a proclamation to add equal rights to the legislature’s extraordinary session agenda — to enshrine the right to abortion access in the State Constitution. pic.twitter.com/M3LIMkYAOT
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) July 1, 2022
“We refuse to stand idly by while the Supreme Court attacks the rights of New Yorkers,” Hochul said on Twitter while sharing a proclamation to add the equal rights resolution to the state legislature’s session agenda on Friday.
In neighboring New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Friday afternoon abortion bills that protect health care providers and out-of-state patients. One bill bans the extradition of people who get or perform abortions in New Jersey to states that criminalize the procedure, and the second prohibits state agencies from assisting in investigations that release their information to other states.
The bills swiftly passed the state legislature in the wake of the Supreme Court decision impacting Roe.
“While others throughout the country are revoking a woman’s right to reproductive freedom, New Jersey will continue to defend this fundamental right in our state,” Murphy said in a statement Friday.
The laws follow other actions by the state to protect abortion rights in anticipation of Roe falling. In January, Murphy signed a bill that codified the right to an abortion into state law.
In Connecticut, a new law strengthening abortion rights goes into effect on Friday. The law, which was signed by the governor in May, protects medical providers and patients seeking abortion care who may be traveling to Connecticut from states that have outlawed abortion. It also expands abortion access in Connecticut by expanding the type of practitioners eligible to perform certain abortion-related care.
As the state becomes a “safe harbor” state for abortion care, Lamont also issued an open letter Friday urging out-of-state businesses to relocate to Connecticut, “a state that supports the rights of women and whose actions and laws are unwavering in support of tolerance and inclusivity.”
This morning, @LGSusanB and I sent open letters to businesses in states restricting abortion, urging them to consider relocating their business to Connecticut where we protect reproductive rights and support people once they’re ready to have a family. pic.twitter.com/UNcm2YaBx8
— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) July 1, 2022
“With the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, there are many states across the country outlawing a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices. Not here in Connecticut. Not as long as I’m governor,” Lamont said in a video message, asking businesses to consider the state as a place where their employees and customers may better identify with its values.
Lamont also touted the state’s policies around paid family leave, child care and education for those seeking to start a family.
Twenty-six states are certain or likely to ban abortion with the fall of Roe, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health policy research organization.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision, President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet virtually on Friday with nearly a dozen governors, including Lamont and Hochul, to discuss the administration’s efforts to protect access to reproductive care, according to a White House official.
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