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DEMAND A VOTE on a bill TO FIX NEW YORK'S ABORTION LAW

the reproductive health act

New York State law forces a person to carry a non-viable pregnancy to term

or continue a pregnancy that threatens their health.

 

WE ARE MAKING A P.S.A. TO LET PEOPLE KNOW!

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS AND TAKE ACTION

@RHAvote #reprohealthny

The Reproductive Health Act

 

New York State's unconstitutional abortion law dates back to 1970 before Roe v. Wade, before women were allowed to get a credit card or run the Boston Marathon.

The current law forces a person to carry a non-viable fetus to term or to keep a pregnancy that threatens their health. Read the stories. 

There is a bill to fix it, it must get a vote in the NY Senate when they come back in January for the next legislative session:

The Reproductive Health Act, or S2796.

 

For years, members of the New York Senate have played partisan politics with reproductive rights and women's health, never letting the bill come to the floor for a vote, never letting it out of committee. 

Majority Leader Senator John Flanagan (Long Island) is the gatekeeper, he decides which bills get a vote, and which do not. He refuses to allow a vote on the Reproductive Health Act.  

Enough is enough. The time is now. Demand a vote on the rha. 

call senator flanagan 518-455-2071

AND THEN FIND YOUR SENATOR AND CALL THEM! 

 
 

toolkit

these are resources to help get the word out

 
 
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The square

The square is the signature image of this campaign. Just copy and paste it or save the image to use it. Blast it out on social media, turn it into a stencil or a sticker, make it the screensaver on your boss's computer. 

Help us get the word out, push people to the website. 

 

 

Sharables

Informational graphics, calls to action, etc. These sharable square images are great for social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. We will keep adding to these. Couple with hashtags like #ReproHealthNY

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ONe-Sheets

These are one-sheet pages that can be used as quick posters, flyers, or further resources for social media content.  Put them in a shop window, on a bulletin board, a telephone pole, etc.

 
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call senator flanagan 518-455-2071

Majority Leader Senator John Flanagan has the sole power to call the bill for a vote. Here we have a one-sheet and an old-school tearsheet.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

(YES, SOME OF THESE HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN ASKED...)


so the rha expands abortion? 

No. Not really. The existing law and the RHA both cap abortion access for any reason at 24 weeks. The existing law only has an exception for life endangerment. The RHA includes life endangerment, but adds exceptions for threats to the health of the woman and for cases of fetal non-viability.

Keep in mind these 'expansions' represent an incredibly small number of abortions- only 1.3% of abortions take place after 21 weeks. 

A lot of women who need an abortion for their health or seek one due to fetal non-viability actually end up getting those abortions. Just not in New York. They have to pay to travel to places like Colorado and New Mexico. So the the law isn't so much expanding abortion access as much as it is reducing air travel. And the stigma around abortion. 


would THe rha ALLOW FOR 'ABORTION ON DEMAND' IN NY?

Nope. The Reproductive Health Act is very clear about the circumstances under which an abortion would be permitted:

  • Before 24 weeks gestation
  • only after that in cases of fetal non-viability
  • or in cases to protect the health or life of the patient

So someone who is pregnant and past 24 weeks would not be able to get an abortion unless one of those exceptions is present. 


but isn't 'health' overly broad?

It is broad, but intentionally so. The law cannot reasonably enumerate every single scenario that might constitute a risk to the health of the patient. The Supreme Court tangled with this and agreed that we should let a medical professional determine this on a case-by-case basis.


so a woman can get an abortion after 24 weeks for a headache? 

The premise of these red herring challenges to the health exception relies on a distrust in the judgement of both women and doctors.  

Opponents have actually asked questions like this. As if women are flying to Colorado, paying $20,000, and getting a major medical procedure after being pregnant for 24 weeks because of a headache or a hangnail.

But the answer is yes, if a doctor felt there was a serious risk to the health of a person due to the pregnancy, and perhaps a headache might be a symptom of that, yes.

A law cannot inherently ensure that people don't break it or abuse it's exceptions.


but why does this matter? doesn't federal law supercede state law?

It does. And technically, the protected rights under Roe v. Wade and subsequent cases should allow care to be provided in the state. In fact, A.G. Eric Schneiderman offered a formal legal opinion to this effect, saying "No state law can restrict a woman’s constitutional right to make her own reproductive health choices...all women have a constitutional right to an abortion, irrespective of inconsistent state law. New York’s criminal law cannot penalize reproductive health decisions protected by the U.S. Constitution." This essentially clarified that New York would not prosecute cases that were consistent with federal law. But that's not really binding...

And lawyers advising hospitals are a conservative bunch. They crack open the law books, read the state's Penal Code threatening to throw their doctors in jail, and advise health care providers to not operate on the wrong side of the state law. This results in denials of care.  And we shouldn't be asking healthcare providers to do that, we should fix the law.

 


i want to help, but what can little ole me really do? 

A lot, actually. Sign the petition. Spread the word about this issue on social media. Share this. Call your senator. Talk to people about it. 

Opponents of this bill only have one thing on their side. It's not truth. It's not medical science. It's not any sort of legal justification. It isn't even public opinion. It's just the fact that nobody knows about this. They are counting on it staying that way. Nobody knows the New York State law is unconstitutional or what it forces families to do in these terrible situations. 

Don't let them go home without taking a vote. 


real stories

from women across new york state

 

"We were told that even if he came to term, he’d only live a short while before choking to death. My husband and I decided we couldn’t put him through that. But now I was at 31 weeks of pregnancy, well past the 24-week cut off for termination under New York law...We live in New York after all and my baby is not viable. Yet, I still can’t have this done by my own doctors in a supposedly progressive state. I was going to have to fly to Colorado to get an abortion. When I told a friend we had to fly to Colorado, he assumed I was doing this under the table, in some kind of shady way. I had to convince him—no, this is just what you have to do in New York, even though our top doctor at a top hospital supported this course of care."

"I had anatomy scans and blood work done at 16 and 20 weeks and we were told that everything looked great and looked normal and that our baby boy was developing perfectly.  I was young and healthy and had two children already so we went on planning for our baby boy’s arrival...She said that brain malformations were a gray area, that we could not know for sure, but since there were multiple issues, we were told that he would likely have constant seizures that would be uncontrollable with medication, he may be in a constant vegetative state, he would likely never walk or talk, he would likely never know who his mom and dad were, he would likely require constant medical care… That is if he even survived to term, or survived birth...I was appalled at how I was told at 20 weeks my son was fine and now he wasn’t… I have learned since then that most of the brain development happens in the third trimester and that is when these conditions normally would begin to be seen...And it was then that my husband and I were told that it was illegal in our home state of New York to terminate a pregnancy after 24 weeks, even in the case of a fetal anomaly.  They recommended a clinic for us in New Mexico.  The only issue was that they required to be paid on the spot and for the entire procedure they wanted $15,000, which was not covered by insurance."

"The scan showed that nearly half of the brain was filled with fluid. Our child would likely need immediate brain surgery, suffer terrible seizures and likely would have no ability to learn or process information. We could not let our child live a life of pain and suffering. Our doctor was compassionate and told us we had the choice to terminate the pregnancy, however "They could not help us, due to laws in the state." We were on our own. We were now a full week over the legal limit. They suggested a place in Colorado where I could go. They offered to call and said they would help us figure it out the best they could. But that was all they could do for us...At that point I felt the most abandoned, scared, and angry I have ever felt in my life. I often still feel this way. How could someone in my situation not have any other choices? How is it that some of the best medical facilities in the country are located in New York State but I would no longer have any access to them? Why was it that I had to drive over 3,000 miles to receive compassionate care from a doctor who's not afraid to give families like mine a choice? Why did I have to ask my parents and in laws to borrow credit cards, pay for hotels and to take over $12,000 out of their retirement to help us give their grandchild a chance to leave this world without tremendous pain?"

"Then at 26 weeks I went for a growth scan, which revealed serious abnormalities. The four ventricles of his brain showed abnormal levels of fluid and no one could tell us why. The head and abdomen were also measuring small (microcephaly), about three weeks behind normal development...We met with a pediatric neurologist who told us about what we could expect our son’s life to be like – severely disabled and in pain, with grand mal seizures that would put his life continually at risk.  After a grueling period of discussion and heartrending questions about our son, our older daughter, and the prognosis, we felt that we could not in good conscience put our dear boy through such pain...I have shared this story with friends and colleagues here in New York, and everyone is shocked to hear we were forced to leave the state due to the current NYS abortion cut-off of 24 weeks. No one would ever want to be in our situation, but everyone I have spoken to supports our ability to care for our child by sparing him a short and painful life."

"It’s beyond frustrating and we can’t wrap our heads around the fact that this condition is rarely/never diagnosed ( high risk doctor’s words) before birth.  It’s a heartbreaking condition that parents are shocked with at birth.  I keep saying, “Wonder if we did not know?”  My doctor said, “You are being given a choice.”  We’ve all heard the expression. It’s a blessing and a curse.  At this point I can’t tell what to feel.  My husband and I are numb.  We are in the thick of it and are coming to terms with terminating the pregnancy.  I’m told we are passed the point in New York where termination is legal.  I break down not even knowing or understanding what that means.  I’m told there are two places I can fly to...I believe I went to hell and back that week.  I did not think I would survive and at one point did not want to.  I have never been so scared or anxious in my entire life.  I now continue to suffer from anxiety.  While I’ve been back from Colorado for an entire year there is not a day I do not think of the loss of my baby and my traumatic journey to Colorado.  I have “healed” as time has gone by but I now find myself angry."
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spread the word and check out our toolkit

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#reprohealthny