The New York State Legislature on Friday passed a constitutional amendment that, if fully enacted, would enshrine the right to an abortion and contraception access in the state constitution.
The amendment’s passage Friday is the first step toward adding the language to the New York Constitution. Lawmakers will need to vote again to pass the amendment in the next legislative session next year and then voters must vote to pass it in a referendum before it can take effect.
The amendment language specifically names protection for rights related to pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes and reproductive health care and autonomy.
It reads in part, “No person shall, because of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, creed [or], religion, or sex, including sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive healthcare and autonomy, be subjected to any discrimination in [his or her] their civil rights by any other person or by any firm, corporation, or institution, or by the state or any agency or subdivision of the state, pursuant to law.”
The state Senate passed the amendment 49-14 on Friday, and the state Assembly passed it 98-43 that evening.
New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul said during a news conference earlier Friday that enshrining abortion rights in the state’s constitution “is going to protect reproductive health in the state of New York for generations to come.”
After the legislature acted, Hochul praised state Democratic leaders for “moving this critical protection forward, building on our nation-leading protections for abortion patients and providers.”
“In a moment of widespread polarization, New York is working to enshrine into our very Constitution that no matter who you love, where you come from, or how you choose to express yourself, you are welcome here and we will protect you,” she said in a statement.
Hochul convened the legislature in an extraordinary session this week to begin the process of enshrining abortion rights as well as to pass another piece of legislation limiting the concealed carry of weapons in New York. Both came in response to recent US Supreme Court decisions.
The high court in recent days overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling and struck down a century-old law in the state that placed restrictions on carrying a concealed handgun outside the home.
This story has been updated with additional details Friday.