Gov. Cuomo signs Reproductive Health Act into law

January 22, 2019 11:13 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP/WNYT) - New York lawmakers have passed one of the nation's strongest protections for abortion rights, saying the women of New York need legal safeguards if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act into law on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It’s been 49 years since there have been changes made to the state law that legalized abortion back in 1970.


“It's a huge victorious day,” said Aletha Shapiro, who came from Long Island with her two daughters to see the act pass through the state assembly and senate.

“It gives me comfort for my daughters and future generations that they know they're safe in New York,” said Shapiro.

Sitting next to Governor Cuomo as he signed the act into law was Sarah Weddington. She’s the attorney who won the Roe v. Wade case before the Supreme Court.

“It is with sincere gratitude that I say to New York thank you for what you've done for women,” said Weddington.

There was urgency to pass the legislation now, as some have concerns that a conservative U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade.

“It gives people confidence that life as they know it is not going to be changed and their rights as they know it are not going to be removed,” said Governor Cuomo.

But not everyone called Tuesday a historic day for women in New York.

“I consider it a sad day,” said New York Senator Betty Little. She voted against the legislation.

"I am pro-life and I value life and I just did not feel this bill today was necessary to expand the existing law we already have in place,” explained Senator Little.

The Reproductive Health Act will permit abortions after 24 weeks in cases where a women’s life or health would be threatened by continuing the pregnancy. It also allows licensed nurse practitioners and physician assistants to provide abortions. It also decriminalizes abortion.

“Abortion is health care it shouldn't be in the penal code it is not a crime,” explained Robin Chappelle Golston, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts. “We really write a lot of wrongs in our statute. We're very happy about that"

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who sponsored the legislation, said Tuesday was a day that should have happened a long time ago.

"Today were reaffirming that women have a voice and women have a choice,” said Stewart-Cousins.

WEB EXTRA: Gov. Cuomo speaks after Senate and Assembly pass 'Reproductive Health Act.'


WNYT Staff

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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