By:  Amanda Eisenberg and Shannon Young
Source: Politico

Impending abortion decision weighs on politicians, health care officials

SESSION ENDS — With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to soon issue a ruling that could strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, Albany lawmakers spent the final days of the 2022 legislative session passing a series of bills to shore up protections for abortion providers and patients who travel to New York for the procedure, POLITICO’s Shannon Young reports.

The Assembly approved legislation late Thursday that would prohibit disciplinary measures against health practitioners for providing legal reproductive health services to patients who reside in states where abortion is illegal, S9079/A9687; and bar medical malpractice insurance companies from taking any adverse action against a reproductive health care provider who performs legal reproductive health care, A9718/S9080.

They were the only two that had yet to clear the Assembly out of a six-bill abortion-related package that passed the Senate earlier in the week.

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat and sponsor of those bills, said they will ensure “the women and men who continue to provide reproductive healthcare, can do so without fear of persecution or prosecution.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced late Thursday that she looks “forward to signing these bills into law.” “The Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade this month — but New York will be ready,” she said.

But the governor’s statement was silent on another abortion-related measure that failed to move in the final hours of the 2022 session: a state-level equal rights constitutional amendment. Hochul and other Democrats had called for amending the state constitutional to protect abortion rights after POLITICO first reported on a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that could soon strike down Roe. 

State Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, told POLITICO Thursday that the constitutional amendment was “dead for now” and unlikely to see any action until next year. The issue has stalled in Albany for years amid debate over the proposal’s scope and concerns of its effect on religious freedoms.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, which have all endorsed Krueger’s “Equality Amendment,” called on the Legislature Friday to return to Albany and take up the amendment during a special session.