Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblymember Karines Reyes announced today that the Assembly has passed legislation to protect doctors, medical providers and facilitators serving patients seeking abortion and reproductive health services via telehealth (A.01709, Reyes).
"As anti-choice extremists continue to roll back reproductive care across the country, New York remains a sanctuary state for access,” Speaker Heastie said. “It is our moral obligation to help women across the country with their bodily autonomy by protecting New York doctors from litigation efforts from anti-choice extremists. Telehealth is the future of healthcare, and this bill is simply the next step in making sure our doctors are protected.”
“As a medical professional myself, I am proud to sponsor this critical piece of legislation to fully protect abortion providers using telemedicine,” said Assemblymember Reyes, R.N. “I continue to be deeply concerned with anti-choice activists’ efforts to undermine doctors in their ability to adequately provide for their patients and to undermine the patient’s control of their own body. These anti-choice bills have a tangibly negative impact on patients’ health and well-being and New York refuses to stand for it.”
This bill builds on the package of legislation, signed in 2022, to protect reproductive health care providers from out-of-state litigation efforts by explicitly addressing services provided through telehealth. Currently, the law does not provide protection against out-of-state litigation for the use of telehealth, and therefore puts doctors at risk for providing care to those in states with laws restricting reproductive health care. This bill expands protections for telehealth providers by providing them the same protections afforded to doctors in other states with strong reproductive healthcare shield laws. This legislation also ensures that telehealth care providers acting within their scope of practice are not subject to professional discipline solely for providing reproductive health services to patients residing in states where such services are illegal.
This bill also acknowledges the rise in use of medication abortion drugs, as medication abortions now account for 54 percent of all abortions across the country. As anti-choice activists and judges continue to threaten access to a safe and effective reproductive care treatment, this bill provides protection to New York providers when using telemedicine to assist women both within and outside New York State.