An abortion rights protest in Foley Square on May 3. Photo: Nitin Mukul / Epicenter NYC

By Andrea Pineda-Salgado

On Monday, a Supreme Court draft was leaked stating that Roe v. Wade — a landmark 1973 decision that stated abortion was a constitutional right — would be overturned. The news caused protests all over the country, and if overturned, abortion would be banned in more than 20 states. However, the overturning of Roe v. Wade would affect all states, even where abortion is protected, as thousands of women are expected to travel to states where they can legally get an abortion. Historically Democratic states such as New York, California, Illinois and Oregon are preparing to face unprecedented capacity issues and staffing shortages in abortion clinics if Roe v. Wade gets overturned. 

New York State has been ahead of the curve

New York State has long been a safe haven for women seeking to get an abortion. A constitutional right to abortion was established in 1967, three years before Roe v. Wade was even decided. In 1970, the procedure was officially legalized. During the first two years when abortion became legal, it was estimated that more than 300,000 abortions were preformed and two-thirds were from women who lived out of state. It is expected that a similar situation will occur if Roe v. Wade is overturned, except now the state is expecting millions.

Assemblymember Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas. Photo: her Instagram account / @votejgr

Assemblymember Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, former executive director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, says the state has to be ready.

“We want to do that without stigma, without shame and with dignity and care and compassion, given what we’re facing as a nation.” she told The 19th.

Abortion rights in NYS are protected and increasing

New York state currently has some of the most robust reproductive rights in the country. In 2019, New York codified the right to abortion and ended a ban on abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy. That same year New York City Council voted to fund the New York Abortion Access Fund. The fund helps low-income New Yorkers and people from out of state have access to abortions. The council has since allocated $250,000 yearly to the fund. 

Gonzalez-Rojas recently filed a bill that will address the possible funding issues due to a greater demand for abortions. If the bill passes, it will allow organizations that provide abortions better access to money. However, the state budget for 2022-2023 has already been passed, so there is no word on how much money will be allocated for that. 

“We’ll have to sort of navigate how to move this legislation forward and what the dollar amount looks like,” she told The 19th. “Again, it was a concept we were working on, and now, it was just urgent to get it moving.”

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