‘Not in New York’: Hochul signs bills protecting abortion rights as pivotal Supreme Court decision looms

Governor Kathy Hochul signed a robust legislative package to protect abortion rights Monday ahead of an impending Supreme Court decision that could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade.

Hundreds of onlookers watched as Hochul signed six landmark abortion rights legislative bills in the Great Hall at Cooper Union, located at 7 East 7th St. — a notable site that has a rich history for hosting women’s rights activists, such as suffragettes Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Candy Stanton, and activist Gloria Steinem. 

Photo by Dean Moses

“Today, I’ll be signing six bills that are landmark protections for abortion providers and their patients. And we will say once again, look to New York, for a nation leading response to this crisis,” Hochul said, “as the first female governor of New York, I take this personally. And that’s a fight I’m willing to take on not just on behalf of the women of New York, but for women all across this nation. I refuse to go backwards.”

Photo by Dean Moses

The legislative package includes laws that allow New Yorkers to file lawsuits against those who are trying to limit their reproductive freedom, protect women who have fled from another state due to criminal charges for receiving an abortion from extradition, defends abortion providers from medical malpractice and licensure issues, providers and families addresses are kept confidential, and a task force will be created to study the impact of limited service pregnancy centers.

With a stroke of a pen, Hochul signed the bills into law, saying that this is only the beginning of a preemptive approach to fight back against the infringement of women’s reproductive rights.  She also states that the potential overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, as foreshadowed in a leaked draft decision memo last month, will severely impact poor Black and Brown women.

Photo by Dean Moses

Hochul stressed that New York will continue to be a beacon of freedom women, regardless of what the Supreme Court ultimately decides.

“This is 2022. The right to control our own bodies was supposed to be a well settled precedent by now, or so we thought. Must the hard-fought battles from my mother’s generation, my generation, my 30-year-old daughter’s generation have to be inherited by my new granddaughter’s generation as well,” Hochul said. 

New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. Photo by Dean Moses

Historically, New York State has progressively supported abortion rights since 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade passed. It is also where the first planned parenthood opened in Brownsville, Brooklyn in 1916. 

“Not now, not ever in New York. Never in New York,” chants reverberated within the Great Hall.