As a woman’s right to abortion is threatened in states across the country, New York elected officials rallied around Planned Parenthood in Lower Manhattan Monday.
With abortion swiftly becoming one of the year’s most contentious issues and many fearing the loss of their right to choose, a gaggle of city and state politicians are reassuring New Yorkers that they will not lose access to these health services.
Touring Planned Parenthood on 26 Bleecker St., the likes of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Senator Brian Kavanagh, Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, famed journalist and activist Gloria Steinem, and more touted the importance of the facility now more than ever. Maloney explained that the location is already seeing an influx of patients from out of state.
“We just toured Planned Parenthood and already they are telling us that people are flying in from Texas for treatment. I am so proud that Planned Parenthood is in the district I’m privileged to represent and that it is doing such good, wonderful work to support women and girls,” Maloney said.
“Reproductive rights are no longer being chipped away. They were chipped away all the time I’ve been in Congress. Vote here and vote there. They’re no longer chipping away at our rights. They are bulldozing them into the ground,” she added.
This influx comes alongside the Dobbs Supreme Court case over Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, ongoing litigation regarding Texas’s six-week abortion ban, and efforts to expand refusals of health care, including abortion care and contraception. In the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, the state of Mississippi argues that the power to regulate abortions should be a state issue and not a federal one. As the battle in court continues with a ruling to be made by this summer, 21 states are on the verge of making abortion illegal or extremely difficult due to strict guidelines like the “heartbeat laws.”
Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform in addition to serving in Congress, Maloney is pushing for a five-part plan to combat the onslaught on women’s rights. Citing discussions she has had with victims of incest as young as 10-years-old who have become pregnant, called the abolishment of abortions “cruel” and “inhumane.”
Maloney’s initiative includes cementing the Equal Rights Amendment into the Constitution by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would establish a statutory right to abortion across the country while also pushing against restrictions to contraceptives.
For Gloria Steinem, this fight is all too familiar. Spending decades battling for women’s rights, Steinem called this latest controversy an attack on democracy.
“If we cannot control our own physical selves, there is no such thing as democracy. When Hitler was elected, and he was elected, the first thing he did the very next day was to padlock the family planning clinics and declare abortion a crime against the state. Mussolini did the same thing. Dictators know that they have to control reproduction,” Steinem said.
While this remains extremely concerning for those residing in impacted states, many in attendance also reassured New Yorkers.
“New Yorkers need to know that here in this state your right to abortion is safe. Regardless of what happens in the Supreme Court,” said Sonia Ossorio, President, NOW-NYC.