Legislation rolled out Thursday by a group of Democratic City Council members would make abortion pills available free of charge at dozens of health clinics across the five boroughs — an effort aimed directly at countering the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade on reproductive rights.
The bill, which is part of a package of Council Acts aimed at expanding access to abortion in the city, would require all Department of Health clinics, stations and centers to provide free access to the mifepristone and misoprostol. The two drugs are usually taken together and can terminate a pregnancy of less than 10 weeks.
Manhattan City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, sponsor of the bill, said proof of health insurance or immigration status will not be required to obtain the pills. People who don’t live in New York will also be able to receive them for free at Health Department facilities, and Rivera said the council is even considering allowing the city to send the pills to residents of other states.
“That’s absolutely our hope,” Rivera told the Daily News. “This legislation provides the framework for our city government to fight like hell to ensure safe, legal, and easily accessible abortion care for all.”
According to a council backgrounder, the legislative package that contains Rivera’s bill would also officially designate New York City as a “safe city for all who need abortion care”; requiring the Department of Health to provide regular reports on the state of abortion care in the city and prohibiting the use of city money to help enforce abortion restrictions imposed by other states, among other actions.
Additionally, Bronx Councilwoman Amanda Farias, who chairs the council’s women’s committee, said she was in talks with Mayor Adams about allocating more public funds to expand access to health care. abortion in the city – a proposal that the mayor expressed during a recent press conference.
The blitz of abortion-related legislative proposals comes less than a week after the Supreme Court’s conservative majority struck down Roe v. Wade as unconstitutional.
Roe, which was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973 and upheld in 1992, declared abortion access a federal constitutional right.
The elimination of Roe’s longstanding precedent gave a say in abortion rights to individual states.
Within hours of last week’s groundbreaking decision, abortion became illegal in several Republican-led states, including Texas and Alabama, following so-called “trigger laws” passed by GOP-dominated legislatures in anticipation of the Roe reversal of the Supreme Court. .
Brooklyn Councilwoman Shahana Hanif said the pushback against the Supreme Court shouldn’t be limited to Council action.
She pleaded with lawmakers in Albany and Capitol Hill to also take various steps to protect abortion rights — and called on average Americans to take action as well.
“This is an opportunity for us to be organized, militant and revolutionary,” Hanif said.