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.