Where Will Our Women Go?
by Nicky Brussel Faria
Reproductive freedom in the United States has been under siege for years. Since November, state governments have been passing abortion restrictions at a record speed. Every new regulation passed further limits what was once a recognized Constitutional right – the right for every woman to be able to have a safe, legal abortion. Ironically, these regulations – which according to Roe v. Wade are unconstitutional – are being passed in the name of protecting the health and safety of women. In reality they are endangering women by forcing them to return to back alley abortions – all at a time when Trump has promised to overturn Roe.
Earlier this month the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a law suit in the Louisiana District Court challenging the onerous regulations that serve only to impede access to abortion care.
Louisiana could be Any State, USA. Only one year ago, the US Supreme Court affirmed that a similar Texas abortion restriction was unconstitutional because the burdens imposed on abortion access outweighed the so-called benefits conferred by such action.
Under the guise of “health and safety,” Louisiana is again trying to pass a version of the Texas T.R.A.P. law, but now we have a new anti-choice Supreme Court Justice. T.R.A.P., Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, is exactly that. These bills target abortion providers with a series of arduous requirements that affect every aspect of the medical care being provided. The restrictions are issue-specific: they are only being applied to abortion providers, not to any other low-risk healthcare providers. Abortion providers and their facilities are already subject to the State’s medical licensing laws so these bills are further unwarranted.
These new regulations are not structured to make the medical procedure safer. The sole goal is to close clinics, thereby making safe and legal abortion access impossible. As Whole Woman’s Health (2016) clarified, states may not infringe on Americans’ constitutional right to abortion by subjecting it to sham medical regulations and by pressuring abortion facilities to close.
Louisiana is not the only State crafting this type of deceptive legislation. It is happening across the country, in every state.
The threat to abortion access is real and only proliferating. Under this administration and with a new Supreme Court justice changing the balance of the Court, no previous decision is safe.
We need a state that is committed to being a reproductive rights sanctuary – a safe zone where any woman can safely, swiftly and legally terminate her pregnancy.
You might believe that New York is already that state, but in reality our state has only become less friendly to reproductive rights as time has passed. Our abortion law is arcane, and still in the penal code. It was passed in 1970 and has never been updated to include 21st century medical care or the full constitutional protection guaranteed by Roe. 53% of NY counties have no abortion clinics. If a woman’s health is at risk or something goes wrong in her pregnancy after 24 weeks, she must seek care outside of NY because State law doesn’t allow a doctor to provide abortion coverage. Where will she go when Roe is overturned? We need New York State to be a leader again. To accomplish that, we must pass the Reproductive Health Act.
But…we have a serious roadblock…the IDC (Independent Democratic Caucus). The IDC stands in the way of passing reproductive justice legislation in New York State. The eight state senators who comprise the IDC will not allow such legislation to come to the floor of the Senate. Instead, they govern with the Party of Trump! As long as the IDC exists there will be no reproductive justice in our state.
Help us to remove this roadblock. Help us get the IDC members to return to the Democratic Caucus or vote them out of office.
Let’s make NY the progressive state it once was. Let’s protect the reproductive rights for all women.