- As more states pass restrictive abortion legislation, other cities and states push back with pro-abortion legislation.
- New York, Illinois, Maine, Vermont, and Nevada have each taken steps to protect abortion access.
- New York City and Illinois have made it clear that women can travel to those areas from other states to obtain abortions.
Several cities and states have passed legislation or taken steps to help women obtain abortions despite a variety of restrictive abortion legislation passed in 2019.
Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia, and Louisiana have all passed bills banning abortions after a heartbeat can be detected. Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law in May criminalizing abortion procedures for doctors. Meanwhile, Missouri’s last abortion clinic may close due to failure to comply with the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services requirements.
In response to this restrictive abortion legislation, both New York City and Illinois have taken steps to make abortion more accessible for women traveling from other states. Maine, Vermont and Nevada have also passed laws that enable abortion access on a smaller scale, NBC News reported.
New York City
The New York City Council allocated $250,000 to the New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF) in June to help women travel to New York City and obtain abortions.
Pro-abortion activists claim this allocation was the first time that a city allocated money specifically designated for abortions, The New York Times reported.
Officials said that the allocated money would enable about 500 women to obtain abortions, the Times reported.
NYAAF board member Janna Oberdorf told NBC that the funds can be used by any women in or traveling to New York City and is intended to cover the abortion procedure rather than travel or lodging costs.
Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also signed the Reproductive Health Act in January, allowing non-doctors to perform abortions according to the Times. The bill also allows women to obtain late-term abortions — after 24 weeks — if their health is in danger or if the fetus is not viable.
Cuomo did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
The law is designed to alert women in surrounding states that they can travel to Illinois to receive abortions if they cannot receive them at home, according to NBC.
The Reproductive Health Act allows non-doctors to perform abortions, abolishes Illinois’ parental notification law, forces religious and private health care organizations to provide abortions, and eliminates required investigations into deaths of mothers.
The law also eliminates requirements to publicly report abortion data, including “the number of abortions performed on out-of-state women or underage girls” according to a press release from the Susan B. Anthony List. (RELATED: Lawmakers Repeal Abortion Safeguards To Build ‘A Firewall Around Illinois To Protect Access’ To Abortion)
“Should you live in a state that has restricted your right to a safe and legal abortion, we want to make sure you know that Illinois is a place where it is safe and legal,” Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush said to NBC News. The publication reports that Bush sponsored the bill.
“We want it to be clear that Illinois is a beacon for women’s reproductive rights,” Bush added.
Guttmacher Institute state policy analyst Elizabeth Nash told NBC that protecting abortion access in Illinois “means you’re protecting access not just in Illinois” but also in the surrounding conservative states.
Pritzker did not respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.
Democratic Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed “An Act To Authorize Certain Health Care Professionals To Perform Abortions” into law in June, a law that permits non-doctors to perform abortions in Maine.
The law will allow physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses to perform abortions, according to a press release from Mills’ office, and is set to go into effect in September. (RELATED: Maine Will Allow Non-Doctors To Perform Abortions)
“Allowing qualified and licensed medical professionals to perform abortions will ensure that Maine women, especially those in rural areas, are able to access critical reproductive health care services when and where they need them from qualified providers they know and trust,” Mills said in a statement.
“Expanding who is allowed to perform an abortion does not expand the safety of the procedure,” Republican state Sen. Stacey Guerin of Maine said in June, according to the New York Post.
Mills did not respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.
Republican Vermont Gov. Phil Scott intends to allow bill H.57 to become law, his communications director told CNN.
The bill would “recognize as a fundamental right the freedom of reproductive choice” and “prohibit public entities from interfering with or restricting the right of an individual to terminate the individual’s pregnancy,” according to CNN.
The bill also would protect women’s “rights to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization or to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to obtain an abortion.”
“The Governor is and has been pro-choice and believes in a woman’s right to choose, so he has ruled out vetoing the bill — it will become law,” Scott’s communication director, Rebecca Kelley, wrote in an email to CNN.
Kelley also told CNN the governor has not received the bill and has not received notice of when he will be given it.
Scott did not yet respond to a request for comment from the DCNF, and his office did not respond to questions as to the bill’s status.
The Nevada Assembly passed a bill in May that would no longer require doctors to inform women about the “emotional implications” involved in abortions according to CNN. Democratic Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed the bill into law on May 31.
The bill, SB179, “removes the requirement that a physician certify a pregnant woman’s marital status and age before performing an abortion” and “also removes the requirement that a physician certify in writing that a woman gave her informed written consent.”
Democratic Nevada Rep. Dina Titus praised the bill in May, calling restrictive abortion legislation “dangerous anti-choice agenda.”
— Dina Titus (@dinatitus) May 21, 2019
Sisolak did not yet respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.
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