Gov. Hochul pushes back on Texas anti-abortion law, moves to bolster right to choose in NYS

Sep 13, 2021
In The News

In her first policy push back to a strict new anti-abortion law in Texas, Gov. Hochul announced Monday she’s enacting several measures to protect a woman’s right to get an abortion in New York State.

Hochul, the state’s first woman governor, plans to bolster New York’s Reproductive Health Act, which passed in 2019, by directing state agencies to launch a public outreach campaign informing women of their abortion rights, ordering the Health Department to instruct health care providers of their obligations and putting Facebook on notice about misinformation circulating on its platform.

The new policies are intended, in part, as a rebuke to Texas Republicans who recently enacted a law severely limiting women’s ability to get abortions in that state. That law, which prohibits women from getting abortions after a heartbeat is detected — or about six weeks into pregnancy, is now being challenged in federal court by the U.S. Justice Department.

“All across the nation, people are waging this battle,” said Hochul, who appeared with several other elected officials Monday at a monument for women’s rights leaders in Central Park. “Who are the warriors in this battle? Yes, it’s New York women once again — to help our sisters across this country who don’t have the leadership in their state to look out for their rights.”

Her new policies will include creating a patient bill of rights to be distributed in doctors’ offices and clinics and boosting the use of telemedicine as a way to make it easier for doctors to proscribe medication remotely.

In her first policy push back to a strict new anti-abortion law in Texas, Gov. Hochul announced Monday in Central Park that she’s enacting several measures to protect a woman’s right to get an abortion in New York State. (Don Pollard/Office of the Governo

In her first policy push back to a strict new anti-abortion law in Texas, Gov. Hochul announced Monday in Central Park that she’s enacting several measures to protect a woman’s right to get an abortion in New York State. (Don Pollard/Office of the Governor)

Hochul called out Facebook for allowing its members to disseminate misinformation about abortion as well and specifically cited lies circulated on the platform in 2019 about the state’s Reproductive Health Act.

“I believe that that has to stop,” she said. “And I believe that the social media organizations that are out there — and I’m asking Facebook starting today — to help clean up the act. Help us wage a campaign of truth and not lies.”

New York Gov. Hochul (left), Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y (center), and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. (right) called the fight for abortion rights in Congress a “war zone” and noted that other important political battles also play into the one over abort

New York Gov. Hochul (left), Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y (center), and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. (right) called the fight for abortion rights in Congress a “war zone” and noted that other important political battles also play into the one over abortion. (Don Pollard/Office of the Governor)

Hochul’s new push appears to be aimed not only at New Yorkers, but at those coming from out of state who may view New York as what Hochul described as a “haven” from other states enacting or contemplating new, stricter anti-abortion laws.

Her new policies don’t require approval from the state’s legislative bodies, which will make them relatively easy to implement. Other pro-choice elected officials acknowledged Monday that they are not likely to be so fortunate, though.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, second left, speaks during an abortion rights rally, at the Women's Rights Pioneers Monument, in New York's Central Park, Monday, Sept. 13. She is joined by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., left, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand,

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, second left, speaks during an abortion rights rally, at the Women's Rights Pioneers Monument, in New York's Central Park, Monday, Sept. 13. She is joined by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., left, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., third left, and New York state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, right. (Richard Drew/AP)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who appeared with Hochul on Monday, has a much tougher road ahead when it comes to measures she’s pushing on the federal level.

She’s working to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which gave women the right to abortions in 1973.

“It would tell these state legislators and governors across the country that it is not their purview to make these decisions,” she said, but added: “To get that done is going to be very hard.”

In her first policy push back to a strict new anti-abortion law in Texas, Gov. Hochul (center with mask) announced Monday she’s enacting several measures to protect a woman’s right to get an abortion in New York State. (Don Pollard/Office of the Governor)

In her first policy push back to a strict new anti-abortion law in Texas, Gov. Hochul (center with mask) announced Monday she’s enacting several measures to protect a woman’s right to get an abortion in New York State. (Don Pollard/Office of the Governor)

To pass the bill, the Senate would almost certainly have to also pass a measure changing the rules surrounding the filibuster, which now allows senators to block a bill by requiring it get 60 votes to pass, rather than a simple majority.

Gillibrand, who’s in favor of filibuster reform, also stressed efforts to repeal the Hyde Amendment, the 1980 law that restricts access to abortion for women receiving federally funded health care benefits.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) called the fight for abortion rights in Congress a “war zone” and noted that other important political battles also play into the one over abortion. She pointed to the need to pass measures strengthening voting rights as a bulwark against anti-abortion legislation.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. (left with raised fist) called the fight for abortion rights in Congress a “war zone” and noted that other important political battles also play into the one over abortion. (Don Pollard/Office of the Governor)

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. (left with raised fist) called the fight for abortion rights in Congress a “war zone” and noted that other important political battles also play into the one over abortion. (Don Pollard/Office of the Governor)

Democrats have been frustrated in their attempts to make gains in that area, as well, thanks in part to the filibuster.

“Congress must support national voting rights legislation to ensure that citizens are empowered to elect officials who will respect our constitutional right to access reproductive health care,” she said. “We have passed these important voting rights bills in the House of Representatives. The Senate needs to pass them. And if they do not pass them, then we need to carve out voting rights from the filibuster.”