Skip to main content

New York bill protects providers sending abortion pills into states with bans

Jun 21, 2023


Media Landscape

See who else is reporting on this story and which side of the political spectrum they lean. To read other sources, click on the plus signs below.

Learn more about this data

Left 40%

Center 44%

Right 16%

Bias Distribution Powered by Ground News

New York state is moving to protect doctors sending abortion pills to states with abortion bans. The New York Legislature approved a bill that will protect medical providers for serving those who live in states that have restricted access to abortion care.

Under the new legislation, New York’s courts and officials would not cooperate if another state with an abortion ban tries to prosecute or sue a New York health care worker who offers telemedicine abortion to a patient in a state with the ban. 

The bill will shield providers from out-of-state litigation and could expand the use of telehealth for those seeking abortions. According to the new bill, providers will be protected as long as they are in compliance with New York law.

The New York Legislature gave final approval on the bill June 20. 

The measure could significantly expand medication abortion access by allowing more patients in states that restrict abortion to end pregnancies at home without having to travel to states where abortion is legal. 

“As anti-choice extremists continue to roll back reproductive care across the country, New York remains a sanctuary state for access,” Speaker Carl Heastie, D-N.Y., said in a statement.

“Telehealth is the future of healthcare, and this bill is simply the next step in making sure our doctors are protected,” Heastie added.

The new legislation is expected to have a notable impact. Some New York providers are already speaking publicly about their plans to send abortion pills to patients in all restrictive states.

“I’m going to mail pills as soon as the governor signs the bill. This is the first time we’re able to do something to fight back,” said Dr. Linda Prine, a New York physician and co-founder of the Miscarriage and Abortion Hotline, which answers patients’ questions about medical abortion. 

According to the New York Times, 14 states have fully banned abortions. Other states have enacted limits on when someone can receive an abortion. Most bans penalize people who assist with an abortion, not those who take abortion pills. 

According to a report from the Guttmacher Institute, medication abortion accounts for more than half of all abortions in the U.S. A medication abortion via pill typically includes two different medications that a patient takes at home.

Abortion opponents are trying to force one of those medications, mifepristone, off the market by challenging the FDA’s approval of the drug 23 years ago in a lawsuit expected to be decided by the Supreme Court. The suit also challenges the FDA’s decision in 2021 allowing patients to receive prescribed pills by mail. 

“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,” Heastie said. 

The New York bill passed the state Assembly by a vote of 99 to 45 on June 20. It now goes to the desk of Gov. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., who has indicated that she supports the shield law. 

Since the Supreme Court ended the nationwide right to an abortion last year, legislation known as telemedicine abortion shield laws have been enacted in Massachusetts, Vermont, Colorado and Washington.

Tags: , , ,