Here are the facts of New York’s Reproductive Health Act
Sexual and reproductive health and rights discussions, especially in today’s world, can often be depressing, bleak, or just a bit of a downer. But on January 22nd, the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, New York passed proactive legislation called the Reproductive Health Act (RHA), which modernizes a state law that previously limited when people could access legal abortion care. Laura McQuade, President and Chief Executive Officer of Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC), sits down with us to talk about the new and exciting Reproductive Health Act.
There hasn’t been a lot of change in terms of access to abortion care in New York since the passage of the RHA. New York has protections for abortion care up to 24 weeks or viability, and have protections for life and health of the mother and if the pregnancy is not viable. All of these protections are currently under threat at the national level, but the RHA ensures that those protections were written into New York state law.
It is legal in the United States to have an abortion through viability (usually considered to be around 24 weeks) and there can be an exception if the health or the life of the patient is at risk, or the pregnancy is no longer viable. Those U.S. standards are now coded into New York state law through the RHA. The RHA also removes abortion care from the criminal code and places it into the public health code and now allows trained nurse practitioners, clinical nurse midwives, and physician assistants to help perform first trimester surgical abortions and medication abortions.
For the first time, we are facing a Supreme Court minority on abortion care. It is a matter of time before the court rules in a way that continues to gut and erode federal protections and allow individual states to strip away access to abortion. If Roe v. Wade is gutted, 22 states will move to make abortion fundamentally illegal due to a lack of judicial underpinnings at a federal level.
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