ALBANY, New York — Republicans in the New York Senate are expected to block the advancement of a bill that declares the state’s commitment to allowing abortion within its borders, and formally removes abortion from the state’s penal code.
AB 6221 had been presented by Assembly Member Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan), and was approved by the Assembly on Tuesday 94-49 after a lengthy debate. The short measure points to the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade as its basis and seeks to codify the court opinion as state law.
“The state shall not deny a woman’s right to obtain an abortion as established by the United States Supreme Court in the decision Roe v. Wade,” the bill reads. “Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, New York protects a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy within 24 weeks from commencement of her pregnancy, or when necessary to protect a woman’s life or health as determined by a licensed physician.”
While New York “decriminalized” abortion in 1970, AB 6221 ensures that mothers do not face criminal consequences for ending the lives of their unborn children.
“No prosecution or proceeding shall be brought or maintained under the penal law or otherwise for acts that are authorized or permitted pursuant to this section or by this chapter and the educational law,” it reads.
“Roe v. Wade guarantees that a woman’s life and health can be protected in these decisions,” Glick told reporters as to why she believed the bill was necessary. “New York state only allows for the instance of saving her life.”
“The Assembly majority believes that in the fight for true women’s equality, the most basic right of all is a woman’s right to make reproductive health decisions for her own body,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) added, who took over from former Speaker Sheldon Silver when he resigned after being leveled with corruption charges. “We believe that her body is a personal space, and its privacy and autonomy must be defended.”
The bill had previously been a part of a 10-point “women’s equality” bill, but was recently detached from the effort to be introduced as a stand-alone piece. The legislation has repeatedly failed in past years as some viewed the matter as a form of abortion expansion. Some still consider the effort as pushing abortion on demand.
“Expanding cruel and brutal third-trimester abortions has long been a goal of the anti-life lobby who never met an abortion they didn’t like,” Lori Kehoe, New York State Right to Life executive director, told LifeNews. “With no regard for the fully developed unborn baby who is violently dismembered, or otherwise killed, the New York State Assembly once again put the abortion lobby above New York State women and their children.”
But as the measure will now move forward to the full state Senate, Republicans are expected to block the bill’s progression.
“While [the] Assembly vote in support of abortion expansion legislation is unfortunate, the good news is that this bad bill is headed nowhere in the New York State Senate,” said Jason McGuire, the executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms.
“[W]e’re spending a whole lot of time on a bill that will never see the light of day in the Senate,” also remarked Assemblyman Steve Katz (R-Yorktown).