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WHAT ROE V. WADE DECISION MEANS FOR NEW YORK STATE

The Supreme Court’s decision to overrule Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that provided a constitutional right to an abortion, has left citizens throughout the United States confused.  Many within New York State may wonder what this means for them personally, or how it may affect those close to them.  Below is a brief summary of what the Court’s decision means under federal and New York State law.

  1. What Roe v. Wade being overruled means.  In Dobbs v. Jackson, the case in which the Supreme Court most recently considered the right to an elective abortion, the Supreme Court has held that there is no constitutional right to an abortion.  The Court also states that this is not a “liberty” protected under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
  2. Laws concerning abortion will differ from state to state.  In overruling Roe, the Supreme Court has signaled that this issue will now be decided on a state-to-state basis.  It will be the responsibility of legislatures in each State to determine how they will treat abortion.  Certain States have or will move to enact outright bans on abortion.  Others may shorten time in which someone may seek abortion services.  The result will be a “patchwork” of laws throughout the country with no unified nationwide right to abortion.   
  3. Abortion in New York is still legal.  In 2019, in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning or significantly altering the holding of Roe, New York’s legislature codified Roe’s protections in its public health laws.  Anyone seeking an abortion in New York may continue to do so, within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.  There are no criminal penalties for individuals who seek an abortion, or healthcare providers who provide abortions.  New York’s laws states that “every individual who becomes pregnant has the fundamental right to choose to carry the pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to have an abortion.”  See, NY CLS Pub Health §2599-aa(2).
  4. New York’s law contains exceptions to the 24-week rule that provides women with expanded protections.  New York’s law contains exceptions to the provision of abortion services up to 24-weeks of pregnancy.  The law authorizes licensed healthcare practitioners to perform an abortion if there is an “absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health,” so as to include terminations of pregnancy due to medical necessity.  See, NY CLS Pub Health §2599-bb(1).
  5. New York also protects the right to contraception.  Observers of the Supreme Court have noted that Justice Thomas, one of the conservative Justices on the bench, signaled in his concurrence that other rights, such as the right to contraception, and other rights may be on shaky ground after the Court overruled Roe.  However, in New York, it is a fundamental right to “choose or refuse” contraception. See, NYC CLS Pub health §2599-aa(1).

[1] NY CLS Pub Health §2599-aa(2)

[2] ANY CLS Pub Health §2599-bb(1)

[3] NYC CLS Pub health §2599-aa(1)

This is not intended to be legal advise.  You should contact your attorney to discuss your specific situation.

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Lauren E. Scott, Esq., is an Associate at the firm and practices general litigation.
She can be reached at 845-764-9656 and by email.

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