Justice Kennedy's announced retirement is a painful blow to the already precarious balance on the Supreme Court. While generally conservative, Justice Kennedy often delivered the deciding vote on cases that upheld the constitutional rights to liberty and equality especially for women, children and the LBGT community.
The President has long indicated that he would nominate an anti-choice Justice in the hopes of overturning Roe vs. Wade and we have every reason to believe this will be a top priority of the anti-choice movement. It is increasingly clear that we cannot rely on the Federal Government to provide adequate protections, and New York's role in protecting our citizens has never been more important.
New York laws pre-date Roe, and if Roe is overturned, New Yorkers will not have guaranteed access to a full range of safe and legal reproductive health care services. Passage of the Reproductive Health Act would address this.
I have sponsored, and the Assembly has passed, the Reproductive Health Act for the last 6 years. The Senate has never taken a vote. This bill, A1748, would update New York laws by:
- moving abortion out of criminal code and into health code,
- ensuring that the health of a pregnant person, not just their life is factor in access to an abortion, and
- protecting patients from being forced to carry non-viable pregnancy to term.
The State Senate must come back to Albany immediately and hold a vote on the Reproductive Health Act.
Additionally, the Senate failed to take action on the Assembly-passed Speed Camera Bill and should take pass this legislation to protect the lives of children.
In the absence of a Federal Government committed to protecting the rights of all people, New York must do all that it can to support and protect New Yorkers. These bills must be voted on immediately. The Senate must act.