Abortion Pill

‘Terribly misguided’: NY governor signs bills expanding abortion pills and birth control

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed two pieces of legislation on Tuesday that are geared toward expanding access to both the abortion pill and hormonal contraception. 

The first bill requires campuses for both the state and city university systems of New York to facilitate access to the abortion pill. That legislation allows the campuses to either employ or contract with providers, or refer students to providers. Based on information from the university’s websites, the bill would appear to ensure an extensive network of access for the abortion pill. It takes effect on August 1, according to the bill’s text.

Hochul’s other bill, which is set to take effect 18 months after passage, allows pharmacies to dispense hormonal contraceptives over the counter. 

During a press conference, Hochul presented both as part of an extensive strategy to ensure abortion access in the wake of pro-life court decisions. Her remarks specifically condemned the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs and Texas “MAGA [J]udge” Matthew Kacsmaryk’s decision to upend the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill.

“Our state has, from the beginning, fought this great fight,” she said. “Abortion was legal in New York three years before the rest of the nation, before Roe v. Wade was decided. And we’re going to do everything in our power to stop the backslide while expanding reproductive rights here in our state.”

“And I know that there are states where these battles are going to be waged, which is why I’ve taken action as Governor to make sure that New York remains a sanctuary for anyone seeking reproductive care, that abortion remains safe, accessible, and legal in our state.”

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She went on to push for the Equal Rights Amendment, which she accurately stated would “enshrin[e] abortion rights in our Constitution.”

The New York Catholic Conference, which previously criticized the campus-related bill, released a statement denouncing the legislation on Tuesday as “terribly misguided” and part of a “ghoulish contest.”

“It’s tragic that young women away from home for the first time and facing a crisis pregnancy will be simply handed abortion pills to take care of the ‘problem,’ rather than be given the multi-layered supports they need,” said Dennis Poust, the group’s executive director. “Governor Hochul’s single-minded focus on increasing abortions in the state, as though she’s trying to win some sort of ghoulish contest, is terribly misguided. New York has many problems that need tackling; access to abortion is not one of them.”

It’s unclear what the bill considers a “campus,” but the city university system boasts 25 colleges while the state university system has 64 “institutions, including research universities, academic medical centers, liberal arts colleges, community colleges, colleges of technology and an online learning network.” The two school systems have about 600,000 students enrolled, according to CNN.

Those efforts have added to others that Hochul implemented to make New York a “haven” for abortion. As Hochul’s office noted, she announced $35 million in support for abortion businesses last May as a way to preempt the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs.

Live Action News previously reported how Hochul’s state was one of a handful that stockpiled one of the drugs used in the abortion pill regimen. Like California Governor Gavin Newsom, Hochul focused on misoprostol in the wake of Kacsmaryk’s decision upending FDA approval of mifepristone – making it more likely that women will participate in dangerous misoprostol-only abortions.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who was also present during Hochul’s press conference, announced on Tuesday that she and 23 other attorneys general had filed two amicus briefs opposing separate decisions by Kacsmaryk. The first pertained to the abortion pill while the other surrounded confidentiality in the Title X grant program.

Kacsmaryk’s abortion pill decision was quickly appealed and eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, which sent the case back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals while allowing the pill’s approval to remain in place.

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