Even if the Supreme Court does overturn Roe v. Wade, as noted in a draft majority opinion that was leaked to Politico Monday night, women in New York will still enjoy their right to reproductive health in the Empire State.
New York State enacted the Reproductive Health Act in 2019 protecting New York women’s right to access safe and legal abortions. But the potentially overturn of Roe v. Wade — which would trigger abortion bans in at least 15 states across the Union — could mean an influx of patients flooding into New York in order to receive care.
“What we do know is that if SCOTUS overturns Roe it will be an unjustified, unprecedented stripping away of a guaranteed right that has been in place for nearly five decades,” said Center for Reproductive Rights CEO Nancy Northup. “It would represent the most damaging setback to the rights of women in the history of our country. It’s important to remember that the Court has not yet issued a decision and abortion remains legal in the United States.”
In 2017, 105,380 abortions were legally performed in the state, although not exclusively to New York residents. Some patients may have traveled from other states to receive care, or New York residents may have themselves gone to different states for the procedure.
Abortions in New York represented 12.2% of all legally performed abortions in the United States, and in 2017, New York state had 252 medical facilities providing abortions.
Also in 2017, the majority of individuals seeking abortions were in the 25-29 age group, with the overwhelming number of abortions performed before or at 9 weeks gestation. Women of color comprised the majority of abortion patients in New York — 26,664 were Black, 17,886 were Latinx, 18,108 were white and 5,957 identified as another race.
The majority of these procedures were covered by insurance – around 86%. About half of the individuals who have received an abortion in 2014 were considered below the poverty line or just slightly above it.
While the leaked draft written by Justice Samuel Alito is not a final ruling on the issue, the news caused great concern among abortion rights activists and those involved in reproductive health care.
“This is not simply a draft of a devastating and politically motivated Supreme Court opinion, it is a roadmap for dismantling our fundamental right to safe, legal abortion, a right codified nearly FIFTY YEARS AGO,” said Joy D. Calloway, Interim President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. “Abortion bans are designed to deny Black, Latinx, Asian and Indigenous people their right to control their bodies and futures. These bans disproportionately harm people with low incomes who cannot afford access to fundamental health care or travel to get it. Abortion bans are the perpetuation of racism, sexism, and economic injustice in a country that has a long history of stripping people of their own personal autonomy.”
As of Tuesday, those seeking abortions are still able to do so safely in many states nationwide until the official Supreme Court ruling is announced, on or about in late June or early July of 2022.
For now, New Yorkers and those who wish to seek abortion care in New York are still free and encouraged to do so, if they so choose.
“Let’s be clear: Abortion is still legal,” said Calloway. “As of today, it remains your constitutional right. And thanks to reproductive rights champions in New York, abortion will remain safe and legal in this great state regardless of what happens at the Supreme Court. Abortion is health care. Health care happens at Planned Parenthood of Greater New York.”