Hochul establishes $35M fund to help people seeking abortions in New York
One day after state Attorney General Letitia James called for a law to provide $50 million to New York abortion clinics to serve out-of-state patients, Gov. Kathy Hochul said she can immediately free up $35 million for the clinics.
Hochul announced the new funding Tuesday in reaction to the leaked U.S. Supreme Court opinion that seeks to overturn the 1973 landmark abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade.
Hochul said the funds will subsidize travel, lodging and other expenses associated with the procedure, to be used for people who live in states where abortion would be banned if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe.
“I’m directing the department of health to create New York’s first fund ever to support abortion providers,” Hochul said. “$25 million will expand capacity and access for patients seeking abortion care, (the) largest fund of its kind in our nation.”
Hochul spoke via Zoom after testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, although she is asymptomatic.
The governor said $10 million will also be available to increase security protections for clinics. The funding comes from the health department’s emergency fund, controlled by the state’s health commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett, and would be ready for distribution as soon as the court acts.
“We’re being proactive. I’ve said I’m better at playing offense than defense in anything I do,” Hochul said.
It might take a few weeks to finalize the criteria and get the applications out to providers. “We’re anticipating to have this go live as soon as that Supreme Court decision comes down,” she said.
Hochul was joined virtually by leaders of Planned Parenthoods across the state and lawmakers, including Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger. Krueger also supports the law introduced Monday by the attorney general that would provide $50 million in funding.
Krueger predicted that more money will be needed.
“I’m sorry governor, it’s probably a down payment on other monies that we are going to need,” Kruger said. She predicts that women who come from other states will be disproportionately young, low income and people of color.
While the state Democratic leaders support the funding, some Republicans do not.
GOP Chair Nick Langworthy issued statement calling Hochul’s announcement “manufactured hysteria designed to distract from the absolute dumpster fire they’ve created in New York.”
Langworthy says the governor and other New York Democrats should be focusing on the rising crime rate and high cost of living instead.