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ALBANY – New York Attorney General Letitia James announced legislation to create a state program to provide financial resources to abortion providers in New York.

James along with state Sen. Cordell Cleare, D-Harlem, and Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas, D-Queens, announced the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program. The legislation is designed to provide funding for abortion providers and nonprofit organizations to help increase access to care, funding for uncompensated and uninsured abortion care and provide resources to support the needs of individuals accessing abortion care.

“We know what happens when women are unable to control their own bodies and make their own choices and we will not go back to those dark times,” James said Monday. “New York must lead the fight to keep abortion safe and accessible to all who seek it and this legislation spearheaded by state Sen. Cleare and Assemblymember González-Rojas will ensure that low-income New Yorkers and people from states that ban abortion have access to the care they need and deserve. No matter what happens in the weeks to come, New York will always fight to protect our right to make decisions about our own bodies and expand access to this critical and lifesaving care. ”

Bans will not stop abortions, they will only stop safe abortions, James said.

The announcement Monday comes after recent national discussions surrounding the potential overruling of the Roe v. Wade decision in the coming weeks.

The Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program would support access to abortion for low-income New Yorkers and would also provide financial support for the potential influx of people coming to the state from elsewhere in the nation.

“Every person in this nation should have the freedom to control their own bodies and their own health care,” James said. “And this fundamental right is implicit in our Constitution and that right should not be abridged or denied. We are taking action today to make sure it remains true in New York both for New Yorkers and for people living in states that are poised to ban abortions. ”

If Roe is overturned, 26 states are expected to ban or likely ban abortion, James said. Fifty-eight percent of women of reproductive age, or about 40 million women, live in those states.

New York has seen an increase in the number of people traveling from other states to get an abortion as states have been restricting access in recent years, James said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, 9%, or 7,000 of the abortion procedures performed in New York, were for people from out of state.

The program would provide funding for uncompensated abortion care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay for care or their insurance status.

“Health care is a fundamental human right and abortion is an essential aspect of women’s health care,” Cleare said. “I am proud to sponsor new legislation, the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program, that will ensure that in New York we proactively protect, support and fund all aspects of women’s health care including comprehensive abortion services. We will not be subject to the arbitrary whims of a politicized Supreme Court nor can we fund health care services via private fundraising. Our women deserve better, and justice and equity demand it. ”

The legislation will ensure in New York women are not only protected but fully funds and supports all aspects of women’s health care, Cleare said.

“One of our greatest fears in generations is coming true: The Supreme Court will overrule Roe v. Wade,” González-Rojas said. “Millions who live in hostile states to abortion access will look to other states for that care. New York must be a leader at this moment and prepare for the impending need. ”

González-Rojas said she has spent her career fighting for reproductive justice. The ability to determine if, when and how to create the family you wish to create is fundamental. The legislation is about health dignity and justice, she said.

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