New York, NY, Tuesday, April 11, 2023 – The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (“WBASNY”) strongly supports A.361-A/S.348-B, which establishes a reproductive freedom and equity program to ensure access to abortion services by providing funding to abortion providers, government entities and not-for-profit organizations whose primary function is to facilitate access to abortion care. These bills authorize the Commissioner of Health to fund reproductive health services for anyone who seeks abortion care in New York, regardless of the ability to pay for services. These bills also allocate funds to organizations providing practical support to individuals who are seeking to travel to New York to obtain essential healthcare that has been denied to them in their home states. Importantly, these bills protect the identities of both the persons seeking and those providing reproductive healthcare services in New York.
WBASNY staunchly supports the protection of every woman’s fundamental right to make her own reproductive health decisions. Accordingly, legislation advancing this goal is a legislative priority for WBASNY. Following the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, many states have limited or prohibited access to abortion services, have enacted civil and criminal penalties for those seeking or providing such services, and have sought to extend those prohibitions beyond their own borders and into other states.
In June 2022, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul promised to make New York a safe place to obtain reproductive healthcare services, including abortions. Assembly bill A.361-A and Senate bill S.348-B would implement the initiatives outlined by Governor Hochul to create funding for services and to protect the privacy of patients and the medical professionals who provide reproductive healthcare services. WBASNY strongly supports these bills which will further protect reproductive freedom of choice.
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The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) is the professional membership organization of choice for nearly 4,000 attorneys throughout New York State and the largest statewide women’s bar association in the country. For more than four decades, WBASNY has been a singularly important resource for women lawyers, providing professional networking, continuing legal education programming, leadership training, and advocacy for the rights of women, children, and families. Through involvement with WBASNY’s 20 regional chapters and its 40-plus substantive law committees, WBASNY’s members collaborate with one another on a variety of issues and perform public and community service, in furtherance of its mission to promote the advancement of the status of women in society and women in the legal profession; to promote the fair and equal administration of justice; and to act as a unified voice for its members with respect to issues of statewide, national and international significance to women generally and women attorneys in particular. WBASNY holds United Nations NGO status with the U.N.’s Department of Public Information, and Special Consultative status in association with the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). WBASNY is also a founding member of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.