New York News

New York Democrats Propose $85M in Abortion Funding

New York Attorney General Letitia James and Gov. Kathy Hochul are seen in a composite image from their respective press conferences. (Photo: The Tablet Screenshot Composite)

By Tablet Staff

ALBANY — ​​New York State Democrats are doubling down on bolstering abortion rights in the state after the controversial leak of a document from the U.S. Supreme Court on the Roe v. Wade decision. Two of New York state’s most powerful women are raising the ante on abortion funding to the tune of $85 million.

Gov. Kathy Hochul pledged on Tuesday $35 million for her Abortion Services Provider Fund and Attorney General Letitia James is pushing for $50 million for a Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program, both to be funded through state health department grants.

Reaction to Hochul’s plan was swift with Dennis Poust, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, calling into question the use of taxpayers’ money with impunity.

“Governor Hochul’s announcement that she is going to immediately redirect $35 million in taxpayer dollars to enable abortion clinics to expand their capacity to perform even more abortions is a grave misuse of state resources and an insult to millions of pro-life New Yorkers,” he said. “Inviting women from out of state to come here to abort their unborn children is a breathtaking reminder of how far our culture has fallen.”

The breakdown of the funding under Hochul’s plan is $25 million to “expand capacity and access for patients” and $10 million in “security grants for reproductive health care centers,” she announced Tuesday. 

“We must ask again, when will New York lawmakers begin to dedicate even a fraction of their rhetoric and policies to supporting women who want and need the resources to keep their babies?” Poust asked.

“In this month of Mary, the bishops of New York State urge all Catholic New Yorkers to pray through her intercession for a change of heart for all elected officials,” he added, “particularly those who profess the Catholic faith, and for a building up of a Culture of Life in our state.”

Hochul’s plan come one day after the Attorney General announced her initiative which would provide funding for abortion providers and non-profit organizations that aid increased access to providers, funding for uninsured abortion care, and providing resources to support individuals needing to access abortion care.

Legislation being introduced in the state assembly and senate to create the Reproductive Equity and Freedom Fund is sponsored by Harlem Sen. Cordell Cleare and Jackson Heights Assemblymember Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas. 

“Bans will not stop abortions,” James said on Monday. “Bans will only stop safe abortions. No matter what happens in the weeks to come, New York will always fight to protect our right to make decisions about our own bodies and expand access to this critical and lifesaving care.” 

The proposed legislation would help women who live in New York, but could also provide funding to women from other states to travel to New York for a legal abortion.

“New York is the undisputed abortion capital of the country, where virtually no New Yorker has to pay for an abortion,” said Kristen E. Curran, director of government relations for the New York State Catholic Conference.

“Now, some officials want to make abortion a tourism industry, like Broadway or Niagara Falls, for out-of-state residents. This is appalling,” she added.

The New York State Assembly and Senate will be taking up both initiatives and could approve the measures by early next week.