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NY Democrats call on state to go further in protecting abortion rights

Some Democratic leaders in New York are calling for further protection of abortion rights in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s possible overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Governor Kathy Hochul has repeatedly condemned the leaked draft opinion authored by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito that suggests the landmark 1973 court decision may be overturned. Still, other Democrats are calling on the state government to go further in protecting abortion rights.

Related: What does the Supreme Court’s potential overturn of Roe v. Wade mean for New York?

Calls from Democrats

State Assemblyman Harry Bronson (D-Rochester) is among the Democratic legislators calling for new abortion legislation and even a possible constitutional amendment.

Another suggestion brought forward in the past few days is a possible state abortion access fund.

“You could voluntarily, totally up to the individual taxpayer, choose to donate portions of your tax refund to the abortion access fund,” said state Senator Jeremy Cooney (D-Rochester), according to News10 NBC.

Related: NY officials, activists react to leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that suggests Roe v. Wade will be overturned

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

Response from Republicans

“Any type of discussion on this certainly has political ramifications and I say shame on them,” said state Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R- Batavia). “To start involving ourselves, as elected state legislators, in changing something that’s already codified in New York State seems to be, to me, to be disingenuous.”

Hawley pointed out that abortion was already legal in New York State by 1970, three years prior to the Roe v. Wade decision. In 2019, former Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the state Reproductive Health Act into law, which codified abortion rights in the New York State Constitution.

Related: Hochul signs bill adding women’s health care expert to state panel