City Hall, NY – Speaker Adrienne E. Adams and the New York City Council celebrated the “NYC Abortion Rights Act” legislative package, which safeguards and expands abortion and reproductive health care in the City, being signed into law today. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s June overturning of Roe v. Wade, the “NYC Abortion Rights Act” expands reproductive health services across the five boroughs and protects those seeking access to care. It also codifies New York City’s role as a destination and safe harbor for abortion care, protecting against attacks on the reproductive healthcare services from other states.
The legislative package is a demonstration of the priorities advanced in an agenda by the City’s first-ever women majority Council, distinguishing how women lead differently and how lawmaking proceeds compared to when men are at the helm. Yesterday, the Council passed a package of legislation addressing significant disparities in maternal health, mortality, and morbidity for the first time in the City’s history. The Council will continue to take on the longstanding challenges facing women in this city, who are the majority, as well as the millions of families across communities.
The “NYC Abortion Rights Act” contains the following:
Introduction 465-A, sponsored by Council Member Tiffany Cabán, would require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to annually report on the number of births and the number of abortions provided in the City each year, for both individuals who were residents of New York City at the time of such birth or abortion and for those who were not residents. DOHMH would also be required to assess the ability of licensed medical providers in the City to provide reproductive health care, identify any challenges faced by licensed medical providers to provide reproductive health care, and make recommendations for increasing the capacity of such providers to provide reproductive health care.
Introduction 466-A, also sponsored by Council Member Cabán as well as Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Council Member Shahana Hanif, would prohibit City agencies from using City resources, including, but not limited to, time spent by employees and the use of City property, to detain persons for performing or aiding with abortions or to cooperate with or provide information to out-of-state entities related to abortions performed in New York state. The bill would also create a private right of action for any person detained in violation of this law.
Introduction 474-A, sponsored by Council Member Shahana Hanif as well as Public Advocate Williams, Council Members Nantasha Williams, Hudson and Cabán, would require the City to engage in a public education program regarding safe access to reproductive health care. Specifically, the bill would require the implementing agency to educate the public about the City’s Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities Law (ARHCF) and protections for people making reproductive health decisions in accordance with the City Human Rights Law (HRL). The public education program would also provide information about a person’s right to bring a civil action for violating the ARHCF and remedies under the HRL, as well as how to access resources to find comprehensive reproductive health care and privacy protections for people accessing reproductive health care. It would also require the City to engage in a media campaign about reproductive health care in the City.
Introduction 475-A, also sponsored by Council Member Hanif as well as Council Member Cabán, Public Advocate Williams, Council Members Farah Louis, Rivera, Hudson, and Amanda Farías, would create a private right of action for interference with reproductive or endocrine medical care. A person would be able to bring a claim of interference with medical care when a lawsuit is commenced against such person on the basis of medical care relating to the human reproductive or endocrine systems that is legal in New York City and which was provided, in whole or in part, in New York City.
Introduction 506-A, sponsored by Council Member Carlina Rivera (by the request of Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson), would require the City to include information in the public education program being created by Introduction 474-A above, about deceptive advertisements and misleading information provided by facilities in the City that falsely represent that they provide reproductive health services. These facilities are often referred to as crisis pregnancy centers. This element of the education program would provide information on what services these facilities provide, how they advertise their services, how these facilities can impact timely and safe access to pregnancy care, and how a person can file a complaint about deceptive practices.
Introduction 507-A, also sponsored by Council Member Rivera as well as Council Members Jennifer Gutiérrez and Rita Joseph, would require DOHMH to provide FDA-approved medication for medication abortion, at no cost to a patient, at health clinics operated by DOHMH. DOHMH would provide such medication to patients who seek to terminate their pregnancy, when the use of such medication is indicated and in accordance with the medically reasonable and good faith professional judgment of such patient’s medical provider. DOHMH would also provide counseling and timely referrals to other health facilities and qualified family planning providers, if needed, for other services. Also included in this package are several resolutions.
Resolution 195, sponsored by Council Members Gale Brewer and Julie Menin, calls upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program, which would support such access by establishing a grant program to provide funding to New York abortion providers and non-profit organizations to increase access to abortion care.
Resolution 196-A, sponsored by Majority Whip Selvena Brooks-Powers, calls upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, Senate Bill 9137/Assembly Bill 10356, which would allow out-of-state physicians to provide reproductive health services in this state while awaiting full licensure.
Resolution 197, sponsored by Council Member Cabán as well as Council Member Marjorie Velázquez, Public Advocate Williams and Council Member Hudson, declares New York City as a safe city for all those in need of abortion-related care.
Resolution 200, sponsored by Council Member Julie Menin, recognizes the importance of the Roe decision and women’s healthcare in declaring January 22, 2023 as Roe v. Wade Day in New York City. January 22, 2023 will mark the 50th anniversary of the landmark 7-2 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.
Resolution 245, sponsored by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, calls upon the U.S. Senate to pass and President Joe Biden to sign the Women’s Health Protection Act to reinstate and protect the federal right to abortion.
Resolution 242-A, also sponsored by Council Members Menin and Erik Bottcher, would support Assembly Bill 10468/Senate Bill 8797B, which seeks to amend Article 1 of the New York State Constitution, in relation to equality of rights and protection against discrimination. The amendment would add an equal rights provision that would expand the list of protected classes to include ethnicity, national origin, disability or sex including pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. This proposal was recently approved by the Legislature and requires approval next session in order to go before the voters of New York State.
“The NYC Abortion Rights Act is a monumental legislative package that sends a clear message that New York City is a safe haven for abortion and reproductive care,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “These critical bills, championed by the first women-majority Council in our city’s history, will support and protect both New Yorkers and people coming to our city to seek the care they need. As states across the country restrict access to safe and affordable abortion care, our city is demonstrating national leadership and setting the example for others to follow.”
“I can’t tell you how proud I feel today, watching as, for the first time, legislation my office introduced is signed into law,” said Council Member Tiffany Cabán Chair of the Committee on Women and Gender Equity and a sponsor of the “NYC Abortion Rights Act”. “As gratifying as this victory is, I want to be very clear about one thing: The far-right wing’s victory at the Supreme Court is not going to signal the end of their fight to destroy our bodily autonomy, so we can’t let this victory today signal the end of our fight to secure it. For poor and working-class communities, especially our Black and Brown neighbors, friends, and families, reproductive justice goes beyond merely the right to abortion care. For us, it means the right to have and raise our families the way we want. Family separation affected by the state is a reproductive issue. Housing and food insecurity are reproductive issues. Denial of health care, child care, and parental and sick leave are reproductive issues. We must fight for all these as hard as we fight for abortion rights. Today, I feel immense optimism for those fights.”
“With the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the autonomy of our bodies and our access to a safe and legal abortion is in danger across this country,” said Council Member Lynn Schulman, Chair of the Committee on Health. “The bills being signed today will protect the rights of pregnant people everywhere. Representation matters, and that’s why I want to thank the first female-majority-led City Council for swift passage of this historic body of legislation. I also want to thank Mayor Adams for his unwavering support of reproductive justice for all New Yorkers.”
“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, local governments need to fight like hell to secure safe, legal, and easily accessible abortion care for everyone. That’s why I want to thank the mayor for signing my bills into law, which would not be possible without the partnership of unwavering advocates for reproductive justice,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, a sponsor of the “NYC Abortion Rights Act”. “Intro 506 will create a critical citywide education campaign to inform New Yorkers on the predatory practices of crisis pregnancy centers. And Intro 507 will guarantee free access to a medication abortion at all city-run health clinics. New York has a long history of championing abortion access, and, today, these bills will strengthen this living legacy.”
“The package of bills signed into law today is a message to all people that if you need an abortion, New York City is here to help. Our city will always be a refuge for anyone who needs access to safe and legal abortions,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif, a sponsor of the “NYC Abortion Rights Act”. “I’m thrilled that the mayor has signed my bill into law to ensure all New Yorkers understand their rights to unencumbered access to safe and legal reproductive healthcare. Additionally, our city will now provide anyone who obtains an abortion in New York City with the necessary legal tools to protect their rights. This new private right to action is a critical protection that will ensure anyone who seeks reproductive care in our city can fight back against harmful anti-choice witch hunts. I’m proud of the work of this council and of the work of our colleagues in Albany to ensure abortion rights are protected, but we must not forget that the federal government still needs to act to protect the rights of millions across the country. The time for bold action is now.”
“The world has its eyes on New York City, and signing these bills into law sets the example and tone for cities across America on how to protect the lives of women and all people capable of pregnancy,” said Council Member Amanda Farías, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “These bills focus on protection through prohibitions against restrictions and interference with medical care, increased services, and codifies New York City’s role as a sanctuary city for abortion care. New York City has historically been a safe haven for many groups of people who are discriminated against in other parts of the country and even the world, and with this new legislation we are continuing that legacy. We got here through the work of women leading. This bill package is a direct result of the women-majority leadership in the Council that is prioritizing lifesaving, inclusive policies. Thank you, Mayor Eric Adams, for your leadership and swift action to signing these into law. I look forward to continuing to work together toward equity in health care for all.”
“We must fight the far-right extremist agenda by making abortion accessible and affordable,” said Council Member Farah Louis, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “I applaud my colleagues and Mayor Adams for making health care and reproductive freedom a priority for New Yorkers. This is a right our great city will always protect.”
“New York City Council has responded forcefully to the Supreme Court’s attack on access to safe abortions and reproductive health and is unequivocal in its commitment to protecting women and birthing people,” said Council Member Gale A. Brewer, a sponsor of the “NYC Abortion Rights Act”. “The NYC Abortion Rights Act will safeguard access to reproductive health care, and I commend Mayor Adams for signing these bills into law.”
“The City of New York is leading the fight to protect reproductive rights and to prepare New York City for the next wave of individuals needing reproductive health services,” said Council Member Julie Menin, a sponsor of the “NYC Abortion Rights Act”. “In the wake of Roe v. Wade being struck down, this package of legislation signed by Mayor Eric Adams will expand and increase access to abortions and essential outreach and services for New Yorkers in need.”
“A woman’s right to choose is a fundamental freedom. For centuries in America, women did not have control over their bodies,” said Council Member Rita Joseph, a co-sponsor of the “NYC Abortion Rights Act”. “Now, reactionary forces are trying to bring us back to the dark days of desperate women getting dangerous, illegal abortions in back alleys. My colleagues and I refused to allow that to happen, which is why, today, the city is protecting a woman’s right to choose. I thank my colleagues in the Women’s Caucus, Speaker Adams, the bills’ sponsors, the mayor, and the incredible coalition of allies that made passing these bills possible.”
“This legislation affirms that reproductive health care will be protected for all New Yorkers and anyone who seeks this type of care in our city — full stop,” said Council Member Kamillah Hanks. “As women nationwide are feeling the swift impacts of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, it is more critical than ever to emphasize that bodily autonomy, safe abortion access, and education on reproductive rights are the law of the land in New York City.”
“In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse nearly 50 years of precedent protecting a woman’s personal freedom, we are already beginning to see the disastrous effects of abortion bans across the country,” said Council Member Linda Lee. “I am proud to be a part of the first-ever women-majority City Council that has fought to strengthen access to abortion and the right to choose for all women. I applaud the leadership of my colleagues in the Women’s Caucus, Speaker Adrienne Adams, and Mayor Eric Adams for working collectively to curate and sign this legislative package that ensures New York City’s commitment to public health education and every woman’s innate right to body autonomy.”
“This historic set of bills could only be prioritized and delivered by our historic majority-women City Council,” said Council Member Sandy Nurse. “Our basic bodily autonomy is being threatened, and our reproductive rights are rapidly being gutted. New York City will, again, lead this country in protecting human rights, securing the rights of women and gender expansive people. Thank you to the women of the Council who are leading us through a dark period in history. We will keep fighting like hell to ensure we don’t go backwards.”
“As we continue to experience disparities in women’s reproductive health across the country and in New York City, we must ensure that we maintain access to safe, affordable, and equitable abortion access,” said Council Member Marjorie Velázquez.“This critical legislative package allows people to make decisions that directly impact their health and well-being, particularly reproductive care. The more education and awareness are generated around women’s reproductive care, the more it will allow for safer medical practices across all populations. We must continue to serve everyone from the marginalized to those with the most access.”
“As a society, we must continue working toward protecting women’s reproductive rights and their right to choose. I believe that it is important for everyone to be able to make informed decisions about their own bodies and have access to their health care needs. With the official overturning of Roe v. Wade, we can see firsthand the attack on reproductive freedom,” said Council Member Nantasha Williams. “These pieces of legislation are an important step forward in protecting access to abortion care for women living in New York City. I would like to thank my colleagues who sponsored these bills and passed them under the leadership of Speaker Adrienne Adams. I also want to thank Mayor Eric Adams for signing this crucial legislative package into law.”
“In the aftermath of Roe v. Wade’s destruction, New York City must remain a safe haven for easy, equitable abortion access and reproductive care,” said Majority Leader Keith Powers. “The bills passed today by the City Council and Speaker Adams, and signed into law by Mayor Adams, will do just that by ensuring robust protections over women’s health care. Moving forward, New York City is committed to being a leader on pro-choice legislation and abortion care.”