STATE OF NEW YORK
May 11, 2022
Introduced by COMMITTEE ON RULES -- (at request of M. of A. Lavine) --
read once and referred to the Committee on Health
AN ACT relating to protecting indigent women in the United States in the
exercise of their personal control over their bodies and health care
decisions and to promote commerce between the states
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
2 the "Geraldine Santoro act of 2022".
3 § 2. Statement of legislative intent. (a) Because medical care,
4 personal autonomy over reproductive decisions, and the corresponding
5 right of privacy are fundamental human rights, it is the intent of the
6 New York State Legislature to provide full and complete protection to
7 women seeking abortions and related medical services in this state,
8 whether or not they reside in New York.
9 (b) Because cross-border medical services implicate and involve inter-
10 state commerce, as U.S. citizens often travel between the states to
11 obtain such services, it is the intent of the New York State Legislature
12 to encourage interstate travel and commerce for the provision of
13 abortion services in this state.
14 (c) Because every year approximately 20 million women worldwide risk
15 their lives to undergo unsafe abortions, and understanding that women
16 who reside in states that have restricted or intend to restrict access
17 to necessary abortions are more likely, as Geraldine Santoro did, to
18 seek out unsafe methods or procedures to terminate pregnancies from
19 unqualified individuals, including themselves, it is the intent of the
20 New York State Legislature to prevent further physical harm to such
21 women and/or dangerous complications to the pregnancy.
22 (d) Because strict limitations or bans on abortions will have a
23 disproportionate impact on indigent women and women of color, it is the
24 intent of the New York State Legislature to protect even women outside
25 the state of New York, in coordination with other like-minded states.
26 § 3. Travel to New York for abortions and related care. (a) Women
27 living in the 50 U.S. States and territories, who (1) seek an abortion
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
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1 that is unlawful in their state of residence but is legal in New York,
2 (2) do not have the means to pay for such medical care or travel to New
3 York are eligible to apply for financial assistance to travel to New
4 York to obtain such medical services.
5 (b) On an annual basis, the department of health, in consultation with
6 the not-for-profit corporation created for this purpose, as provided in
7 subdivision (d) of section four of this act, shall promulgate rules
8 setting forth the financial qualifications for obtaining such financial
10 (c) Such rules shall be based upon the patient's financial means.
11 (d) Such rules shall aim to maximize the availability of funds from
12 all sources.
13 (e) To the extent permitted by law, such rules shall seek to obtain
14 reimbursement from the patient's health insurance, or from Medicare or
16 (f) In the event that the number of applications exceeds the amount of
17 funds available, such rules shall prioritize paying for the cost of
18 abortion procedures and travel in circumstances where: there is a lethal
19 fetal anomaly; or to protect the patient's life or health; or where the
20 pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.
21 (g) Immigration status shall not be a consideration in determining
22 financial eligibility or participation in the program in any way. No
23 information on legal status may be collected in connection with this
25 § 4. Administration. (a) The department of health shall promulgate
26 rules and regulations consistent with this act within 60 days of the
27 effective date of this act.
28 (b) Effective immediately, the department of health shall be author-
29 ized to use fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000) for the program set
30 forth in section three of this act, including through a new not-for-pro-
31 fit corporation, set forth in subdivision (d) of this section, to admin-
32 ister the program, to pay for eligible abortions, and to pay for eligi-
33 ble travel.
34 (c) Beginning in fiscal year 2023-2024, the state budget shall appro-
35 priate funds directly for the program created by this act.
36 (d) The department of health shall create a not-for-profit corporation
37 to administer the program set forth in section three of this act, shall
38 appoint its board of trustees, and shall be empowered to fund the corpo-
39 ration using the department's budget consistent with the other funding
40 provisions of this act.
41 (e) Such not-for-profit corporation shall:
42 (1) administer the program, including facilitating travel arrangements
43 and medical appointments for women who need them, and paying the costs
44 where eligible;
45 (2) raise private money to help pay for this program;
46 (3) be authorized to enter into partnerships with existing, privately
47 run not-for-profit corporations that can contribute funds or other
48 resources to this program;
49 (4) be authorized to enter into pacts with other states that enact
50 laws similar to this act, so that the funds, and other resources includ-
51 ing information, from various states can be pooled; so that those funds
52 and other resources can be used in the most efficient manner (allowing
53 these benefits to be extended to as many women as possible); and so that
54 eligible patients can be treated in the least disruptive and most
55 compassionate manner, with the least amount of travel;
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1 (5) maximize the availability of funds from sources other than New
2 York, such as, where eligible, federal funding (including Medicaid and
3 Medicare), or the patient's private insurance;
4 (6) be authorized to enter into agreements with common carriers for
5 the purpose of administering the program under section three of this act
6 in a cost-efficient manner; and
7 (7) provide, in circumstances defined within regulations promulgated
8 by the department of health, a fast-track option in which applicants for
9 financial assistance receive notice of the determination on their appli-
10 cation within 48 hours of the application's receipt, or such other time
11 limitation as determined by the department of health.
12 (f) The department of health shall determine, in consultation with the
13 department of education, whether the state can safely and legally
14 provide medical abortions to out-of-state residents through mail-order
15 pharmacies and telehealth consultations, in which the patient would use
16 the abortifacient medication in their home state, or in a nearby state;
17 and if such a practice is determined to be safe and lawful, the not-for-
18 profit corporation administering the program shall provide for such an
20 (g) The department of health shall identify and certify health care
21 providers who are authorized to administer abortions in New York for
22 out-of-state residents.
23 (h) Participation in the program shall not be conditioned, in any way,
24 upon a patient's immigration status. No information on legal status may
25 be collected in connection with this program.
26 § 5. Civil liability. (a) Any person, other than an officer or employ-
27 ee of a state or local governmental entity in this state, may bring a
28 civil action against any person who:
29 (1) obstructs, impedes or hinders any woman from exercising the right
30 created in section two of this act;
31 (2) obstructs, impedes or hinders any medical professional from
32 providing abortions or abortion-related services to any woman; or
33 (3) aids or abets any action proscribed by paragraph one or two of
34 this subdivision.
35 (b) Except where otherwise prohibited by law, a civil action brought
36 under this section shall be brought in the county in which one of the
37 parties resided when it was commenced; the county in which a substantial
38 part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred; or,
39 if none of the parties then resided in the state, in any county desig-
40 nated by the plaintiff. A party resident in more than one county shall
41 be deemed a resident of each such county.
42 (c) A person may bring an action under this section not later than the
43 fourth anniversary of the date the cause of action accrues.
44 (d) If a claimant prevails in an action brought under this section,
45 the court shall award:
46 (1) injunctive relief sufficient to prevent the defendant from violat-
47 ing this act or engaging in acts that aid or abet violations of this
49 (2) statutory damages in an amount of not less than $50,000 for each
50 abortion the defendant obstructed in violation of this act; and
51 (3) reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.
52 (e) The following are not defenses to an action brought under this
54 (1) ignorance or mistake of law;
55 (2) a defendant's belief that the requirements of this act are or were
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1 (3) a defendant's reliance on any court decision that has been over-
2 ruled on appeal or by a subsequent court, even if that court decision
3 had not been overruled when the defendant engaged in conduct that
4 violates this act;
5 (4) a defendant's reliance on any state or federal court decision that
6 is not binding on the court in which the action has been brought;
7 (5) non-mutual issue preclusion or non-mutual claim preclusion; or
8 (6) any claim that the actions or activity in violation of this act
9 were based on religious or moral beliefs about the sanctity of life.
10 § 6. Sanctuary provisions. (a) New York governmental agencies shall
11 not participate in out-of-state investigations, lawsuits, or criminal
12 prosecutions related to an abortion that is lawfully performed in this
14 (b) The department of health, the not-for-profit corporation adminis-
15 tering this program, all funding partners of this program, all transpor-
16 tation partners of this program, providers of health care, health care
17 service plans, or contractors in this state shall not release any infor-
18 mation (including identity) related to an individual seeking or obtain-
19 ing an abortion in this state in out-of-state investigations, lawsuits,
20 or criminal prosecutions related to abortions lawfully performed in this
21 state, including in response to a subpoena, whether or not the individ-
22 ual received financial assistance.
23 (c) This state shall not extradite a person in New York to another
24 state for having an abortion in New York under this act.
25 (d) No coroner in this state shall issue a statement on the certif-
26 icate of fetal death intended to facilitate or encourage official or
27 private legal actions against women availing themselves of the rights
28 under this act or medical professionals providing abortions or abor-
29 tion-related services in this state.
30 § 7. Severability. If any provision, section, subsection, or clause of
31 this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held inval-
32 id, it is the legislature's intent that the invalidity does not affect
33 other provisions, sections, subsections, clauses or applications of this
34 act which can be given effect without the invalid provision, section,
35 subsection, or clause or application, and to this end the provisions of
36 this act are severable.
37 § 8. This act shall take effect immediately.