New York Lawmakers Move to Enshrine Abortion Rights in State Constitution

On Friday, legislators in New York State approved a constitutional amendment that, if ultimately ratified by voters, would guarantee women in the state the right to obtain abortions and contraceptive services.

As a result of Friday’s vote, the first step has been taken toward incorporating the language into the New York Constitution. In order for the amendment to take effect, it must first be approved by lawmakers at their next meeting in January of next year, and then by voters in a referendum.

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Lawmakers in New York Are Taking Steps to Enshrine Abortion Rights in State Constitution

The amendment language correctly identifies protection for rights associated with pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive health care and independence.

It reads in part, “No person shall, because of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, creed [or], religion, or sex, including sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive healthcare and autonomy, be subjected to any discrimination in [his or her] their civil rights by any other person or by any firm, corporation, or institution, or by the state or any agency or subdivision of the state, pursuant to law.”

New York Lawmakers Enshrine
New York Lawmakers Enshrine

The amendment was approved by a vote of 49 to 14 in the state Senate and 98 to 43 in the state Assembly on the same day, Friday.

During a news conference on Friday, New York’s Democratic governor, Kathy Hochul, said that writing abortion protections into the state constitution “is going to protect reproductive health in the state of New York for generations to come.”

After the legislature passed the bill, Hochul said that the Democrats should be commended for “moving this critical protection forward, building on our nation-leading protections for abortion patients and providers.”

“In a moment of widespread polarisation, New York is working to enshrine into our very Constitution that no matter who you love, where you come from, or how you choose to express yourself, you are welcome here and we will protect you,” she said.

With the goal of enshrining abortion rights and passing additional legislation restricting concealed carry in New York, Governor Hochul called for an extraordinary session of the legislature this week. Both actions were in reaction to rulings by the United States Supreme Court.

Recently, the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade and invalidated a century-old state law that had prohibited citizens from openly carrying handguns.

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