Buffalo – Today, Members of the New York State Legislature’s Western New York Delegation gathered outside of the Robert H. Jackson U.S. Courthouse in downtown Buffalo to denounce the string of recent Supreme Court decisions that encapsulate the extreme political polarization that now permeates every facet of American life and government, including the highest court in the country.
On June 23, the Supreme Court struck down a New York law that placed strict limits on carrying guns outside the home – a decision that has far-reaching implications, particularly in cities that had sought to address gun crimes by putting restrictions on who can carry them. The New York law required that people seeking a license to carry a handgun outside their homes show a “proper cause.”
Just a day later, the Court unconscionably has overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark precedent that protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion.
The Court’s indefensible reversal represents a dark day in American history, in which essential freedoms that American women have had protected for decades have been dismissed, and millions of women nationwide now must fight to protect their precarious right to bodily autonomy.
As a unified front, the NYS Legislature’s WNY Delegation now prepares to head back to Albany for a special session to further cement human rights for New Yorkers, and to show leadership and resilience in the face of federal polarity.
In 2019, New York codified Roe v Wade into state law through the Reproductive Health Act, which enshrined the right to abortion, expanded access, and allowed abortions after 24 weeks to protect the mother’s health or if the fetus was not viable.
The NYS Legislature’s Majority passed a series of bills before closing out legislative session to ensure health care providers can provide safe, legal abortions in our state without fear of legal repercussions. It also recognized that women across the country may look to New York if and when they need this medical care, and state laws help make New York a haven for these individuals.
The governor also announced a $35 million fund for reproductive health clinics, in part to help with the expected surge of out-of-state patients seeking access to abortions.
Additionally, as New York looks to protect its citizenry from a growing epidemic of gun violence, the governor has announced that the state will look at whether state government could restrict carrying handguns in sensitive locations. The governor also said that the state was considering changing the permitting process to create basic qualifications for gun owners, including training requirements.
State Sen. Sean Ryan said, “The radical majority on the Supreme Court is trying to take America backwards. With Roe v. Wade overturned, abortions will still occur – but they will be less safe. Women will die, and doctors will be jailed for doing their jobs. This is what big government conservatives want. It's all about controlling women's bodies. At the same time, we now have to act to strengthen our gun laws once again because the Supreme Court overturned a century old law that had helped to keep guns away from criminals. We will not stand for this in New York. We will fight back.”
Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera said, “With today’s ruling, the Supreme Court has signaled its intention that no rights that Americans now consider “fundamental,” are safe. According to Justice Thomas’ own opinion, the same rationale that the Court used to declare there was no right to abortion, can also be used to overturn cases establishing rights to contraception, same-sex consensual relations and same-sex marriage. This assault on the freedoms of our most vulnerable must be met with resistance and a commitment to codifying the rights and civil liberties of Americans across all spectrums.”
Assemblymember Monica Wallace said, “In the past 24 hours, the Supreme Court has dealt a devastating blow to our democracy. Yesterday’s decision limiting a state’s ability to enact common sense gun laws and today’s decision restricting the constitutional right of women to a safe and legal abortion are part of an extreme far-right agenda that is not supported by the vast majority of Americans or the Court’s own precedents. We cannot change the destructive impact those decisions will have on the rest of our country, but we can and will do whatever is necessary to ensure New York continues to protect the reproductive freedom of women.”
Assemblymember Karen McMahon said, “In the last 24 hours, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued two unsurprising but devastating decisions. Yesterday, a law in place for over 100 years was tossed aside by an activist SCOTUS and, today, access to safe and legal abortion services was stripped away after being the law of the land for nearly five decades. This Court does not reflect the mainstream public opinion of this country and is taking us in a very dangerous direction. I look forward to a special session of the Legislature later this summer to address the handgun case, and I’m proud and relieved that New York State is committed to protecting a woman’s right to reproductive health care and freedom.”
Assemblyman Pat Burke said, “Right wing extremists on the Supreme Court are attempting to turn the United States of America from a democracy into a theocracy. The rulings over the last several days are not based on the law, they are based on their warped ideology and their win at all cost politics. It is a dark day for this country. We cannot just cede power to these people any longer. I am committed to doing everything I can to prevent these extremists from doing further harm to our country and our people.”
Assemblyman Bill Conrad said, “The Supreme Court’s decisions this week have fundamentally changed the interpretation of the Second and Fourteenth amendments to suit the more strict constructionist principles of its conservative majority. These ideologies will in turn restrict women's healthcare access across the country and threaten citizens’ right to safety, thereby toppling many decades of precedent in our state and nation. We can make grim predictions about what’s next: bans on contraception and same-sex marriage. Today, we lend support to those who have lost loved ones to gun violence, and to those who have been terrorized by the proliferation of firearms in our public spaces. Today, we lend support to women, who demand and deserve reproductive rights and dignity. New York State cannot – and will not – go backward.”