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STATES ISLAND, NY – Gov. Kathy Hochul sent a letter to the congress, urging the legislative body to take several actions that would ensure women across the United States have safe and equitable access to abortion and reproductive health services.

Hochul said that New York should be used as a blueprint for other states to follow on how to structures its abortion and reproductive health services.

Because of the 2019 Reproductive Health Act, which codified Roe v. Wade protections into the state’s health code, abortion remains legal and protected in New York. It also expanded on the types of providers that can perform abortions and extends the window when an abortion can be obtained.

“When New York legalized abortion three years before Roe v. Wade, our state served as a safe harbor for those seeking abortion care, and with the Supreme Court threatening to strike down Roe, we stand ready to once again welcome those in need,” Hochul said.

“I urge Congress to act immediately to safeguard abortion access across the nation and ensure that states like New York have adequate support to accommodate additional patients who will need our help. I am proud to continue New York’s long tradition of being on the forefront of equal rights and reproductive health. New York State is a blueprint for access to abortion, one that states across the nation should follow. Now is the time for decisive, bold action to ensure that abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible to all who need it, ”she continued.

In Hochul’s letter to congress, she named six actions that she feels need to happen legislatively to protect abortion access across the United States:

  • Codify Roe v. Wade into federal law: Without Roe v. Wade, abortion will be harder to find and afford, disproportionately impacting people in the South and Midwest;
  • Repeal the Hyde Amendment: Would allow for the use of Medicaid dollars for abortion services, ensuring that no individual is denied access to abortion due to income or health insurance plan.
  • Provide federal support to safe harbor states: For New York state to step up and accommodate everyone who needs care, it needs significant federal support to bolster provider network to accommodate new patients.
  • Require states receiving Medicaid funds to follow FDA guidelines on medical abortion medications: any state receiving Medicaid funding and participating in the Medicaid drug rebate program should be required to allow medications such as mifepristone, an FDA approved drug, to be prescribed via telehealth. Such an action would override states with mifepristone prescription limitations already in place and open up an important new channel for safe and legal abortion services.
  • Expand telehealth services: Federal funding must be increased to help New York’s reproductive health providers reach all who need care, including patients seeking abortions via telehealth.
  • Ensure the US Postal Service’s ability to ship abortion medication to all states: Congress must adequately fund the postal service to ensure patients can receive prescribed medical abortion medications regardless of their ZIP code.

Since the Supreme Court opinion draft – suggesting that the Court is in favor of overturning the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade case – was leaked earlier this week, the governor has voiced her support for a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion. She repeatedly said women from other states are welcomed in New York with open arms.

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