As the 2022 legislative session draws to a close, the New York State Legislature is considering a plethora of bills relating to the topic of abortion access. This memorandum will detail the reasons that New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF) opposes these bills.
Bill S.758-Biaggi/A.1926-Reyes (the Abortion Access Fund Act): This legislation would create an abortion access fund that would provide monies to nonprofit organizations that assist women—including out-of-state women—in paying the costs associated with obtaining abortions in New York. Taxpayers would be allowed to donate to the proposed fund when they submit their tax returns; also, the bill would allow other monies to be appropriated to the abortion access fund through the budget process.
There is no valid reason for the state of New York to act as a pass-through entity for monies to be expended on abortion access, especially when the women receiving funds are not New York residents. Persons wishing to contribute to abortion access efforts are free to donate directly to the nonprofit organizations that fund such efforts.
Bill S.8797-A-Krueger/A.10468-A-Rules (Seawright) (the Equality Amendment): This legislation would enact a constitutional ban on discrimination based on “race, color, ethnicity, national origin, disability, or sex including pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms supports equal protection under the law. We also support a constitutional ban on discrimination based upon ethnicity, national origin, and disability (the Constitution already bans discrimination based upon race, color, creed, and religion). We would support a ban on sex discrimination if such a ban did not impact policies on abortion, sexuality, and gender identity. However, we oppose constitutional protections based on “pregnancy outcomes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”
Adding constitutional protections based on categories like abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism would force the state of New York to take sides on controversial matters of personal choice. That is not the purpose of the New York State Constitution. Furthermore, the passage of the Equality Amendment would result in the further erosion of religious liberty for New Yorkers whose faith traditions teach that abortion, homosexuality, and/or transgenderism are immoral.
The Equality Amendment would also ban discrimination “in either intent or effect.” This language would make it possible for New York employers to be found liable for unconstitutional discrimination without having intended to discriminate against anyone. This loose language is unfair and unacceptable.
Bill S.9039-A-Biaggi/A.10094-A-Burdick (the FIRE HATE Act): The FIRE HATE Act would create a civil cause of action for “unlawful interference with protected rights.” Under this legislation, a person who came to New York (or attempted to come to New York) to obtain abortion services and was sued or prosecuted for violating her own state’s abortion laws could bring a lawsuit in New York courts against whomever sued or prosecuted her.
New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms is unaware of a single state whose laws bar its residents from obtaining abortions in other states. The bill memorandum does not identify any state where such a law is on the books. Therefore, the FIRE HATE Act would appear to be pointless. Even if another state were to bar its residents from obtaining abortions in other states, and even if such a law were valid and enforceable, it is not clear how the Supreme Court of the State of New York would acquire personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant in a lawsuit alleging unlawful interference with protected rights. The FIRE HATE Act is, quite simply, a waste of time.
Bill S.9077-A-Krueger/A.10372-Rules (Lavine): In out-of-state proceedings relating to abortions lawfully performed in New York, this bill would prevent extraditions, arrests, law enforcement agency cooperation, the issuance of subpoenas, and the issuance of court orders compelling testimony. The legislation would protect abortion providers who deliberately violate other states’ laws by assisting in out-of-state pill abortions. Such protection is inappropriate.
Bill S.9079-B-Kaplan/A.9687-B-Rosenthal: This legislation would make it unlawful for the state of New York to discipline New York abortion providers for professional misconduct for performing abortions upon women who reside in states where such abortions are unlawful. Significantly, this bill would leave the door open for New York abortion providers to escape discipline even if they perform unlawful abortions in other states. Inviting New Yorkers to scoff at other states’ laws is not a legitimate exercise of the Legislature’s authority.
Bill S.9080-B-Hinchey/A.9718-B-Rosenthal: This bill would bar insurance companies from taking adverse action against abortion providers who perform abortions on out-of-state patients. The legislation expressly includes abortion providers who “legally prescribe abortion medication to out-of-state patients by means of telehealth.” There is no valid reason to insulate abortion providers from the insurance consequences that may result in their disregard for other states’ laws.
Bill S.9384-A-Cleare/A.9818-A Paulin: This legislation would add abortion providers and their patients to an existing address confidentiality program. In recent weeks, pro-life organizations have been targeted for vandalism and arson at various locations across the country. Pro-life pregnancy centers have been defaced with pro-abortion messages in Maryland, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, while the offices of pro-life advocacy groups have been damaged in arson attacks in Oregon and Wisconsin. Given this pattern of violence against pro-life organizations, it is both odd and unacceptable that this legislation offers address confidentiality to abortion providers but neglects to provide the same protection to pro-life pregnancy center personnel. Unless this one-sided bill is amended to correct this omission, NYCF is constrained to oppose it.
Bill S.9444-Cleare/A.3322-A-Epstein: This dangerous legislation would mandate that every university in the State University of New York (SUNY) system provide pill abortions on campus. The bill also calls for the creation of a “public college student health center abortion by medication fund.” Like the Abortion Access Fund Act, this bill would allow taxpayers to donate to the proposed fund when they submit their tax returns. It would also allow other monies to be appropriated to the fund through the budget process. The bill memorandum asserts that this legislation would allow “students who want an abortion [to] get one in a safe and timely way so they can remain healthy and focused on their studies.” Unfortunately, the bill is completely silent about the many negative health consequences that are caused by pill abortions. The bill is also silent about whether student health centers at SUNY schools are prepared to provide medical services to women who experience complications following pill abortions. This reckless legislation should not become law.
Bill S.9453-Krueger: This bill would ban discrimination in housing, employment, lending, and public accommodations on the basis of “pregnancy outcome.” Because it is unjust to treat individuals differently due to matters over which they have no control, New York law should protect New Yorkers against discrimination based on immutable characteristics. Adding constitutional protections based on categories like pregnancy outcomes would force the state of New York to take sides on controversial matters of personal choice. Furthermore, the passage of this bill could result in the further erosion of religious liberty for New Yorkers whose faith traditions teach that abortion is immoral.
 A previous version of the bill would have made the same cause of action available to persons traveling to New York to pursue “hormone therapy and/or other therapy relating to gender”; however, that language has been removed.
 See https://www.wmar2news.com/news/local-news/reisterstown-pregnancy-center-vandalized-with-graffiti, last accessed May 31, 2022.
 See https://www.cbsnews.com/dfw/news/denton-womens-clinic-vandalized-with-pro-abortion-rights-graffiti/, last accessed May 31, 2022.
 See https://finance.yahoo.com/news/washington-pregnancy-center-vandalized-apos-073141786.html, last accessed May 31, 2022.
 See https://www.foxnews.com/us/oregon-right-to-life-molotov-cocktails-arson-attack-anti-abortion, last accessed May 31, 2022.
 See https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/fire-wisconsin-anti-abortion-office-investigated-arson-84591308, last accessed May 31, 2022.