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Bill Addresses State’s Outdated Abortion Law

Albany, NY—Yesterday, Assembly Member Deborah Glick introduced the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) (A. 11484) in the New York State Assembly. This is another example of the Assembly’s strong tradition of support for women’s reproductive health and justice. “Obviously, members of the Assembly and its leadership represent the values of the more than 70 percent of New Yorkers who support pro-choice policies,” said PPNC CEO & President, JoAnn D. Smith.

“Bill sponsor Assembly Member Glick and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver understand that New York’s abortion law of 1970 is outdated and inadequate,” said Smith, “And, they see the value in updating that law to comply with current medical practice. The Reproductive Health Act, ensures that when a woman faces a health problem during pregnancy, abortion will be an available option.”

Under New York law, women are able to access abortion when their life is in danger during pregnancy, but not if their health is endangered. Therefore, women and their health care providers have to rely on the tenets of Roe v. Wade to protect a pregnant women’s health. With hundreds of pieces of anti-choice legislation being introduced in state legislatures around the country this year, Roe could face court challenges and be further chipped away, causing a serious setback to women’s health care in New York.

The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) will guarantee a woman's ability to make her own reproductive health decisions.

RHA ensures that a woman will be able to have an abortion if her health is endangered.

New York’s law does not contain an exception to protect a woman should the pregnancy pose a risk to her health. Our law only provides for abortion should a women’s life be endangered.

RHA also will regulate abortion care in public health law rather than in the criminal code.

“As a safe, legal medical procedure, the regulation of abortion must be removed from the penal code where it has been since before 1970 and into the public health code with every other medical practice,” said Smith.

In contrast to misinformation about the Reproductive Health Act, this measure will not force religiously affiliated hospitals or health care providers to provide abortion services. In fact, the bill specifically states: Nothing in this article shall be construed to conflict with any applicable state or federal law or regulation permitting a health care provider to refrain from providing abortions due to the provider’s religious or moral beliefs. 

The Reproductive Health Act was introduced in the Senate (S.5808) during the 2009 legislative session. Planned Parenthood of Nassau County is working with lawmakers in both houses to ensure this bill becomes law for the benefit of the state’s women and families.


Planned Parenthood of Nassau County (PPNC) is one of 89 affiliates of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and operates 3 health centers in Nassau County. In 2009, PPNC provided services to more than 13,000 patients during 26,000 visits. We conducted education workshops and street outreach to 32,000 teens and families, and mobilized approximately 5,500 advocates to protect reproductive health care rights.  PPNC has served the community for 77 years, and is dedicated to educating and empowering individuals to make responsible choices regarding their sexuality and sexual health. For more information about PPNC’s services and programs, visit www.ppnc.org.


Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, Inc.


Kate Bernhard, Community Affairs Associate
Phone: 516-750-2661
Fax: 516-483-3592
E-mail: [email protected]


June 22, 2010