Get the truth about the Reproductive Health Act

Blog / February 6, 2019

Dear Members and Activists,

The decision to terminate a pregnancy is never a political one, it’s a deeply personal one. It’s a decision that gets ever more complicated and difficult when a woman, later in pregnancy, is critically ill, or diagnosed with an aggressive cancer or any of the dangerous illnesses that may arise during pregnancy.

Ask any woman who has been given the tragic news that her pregnancy is no longer viable, who has a baby shower on the calendar and a nursery decorated, if New York’s newly-passed Reproductive Health Act is compassionate health care. She will say yes.

I thought about these women when I heard the President lie to the nation during the State of the Union with the incredible falsehood that New York’s new law enshrining the rights of Roe v. Wade “allows a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.”

Nothing could be further from the truth. What the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) does is align state law with the rights and parameters set by Roe v. Wade.  It makes it clear that doctors can safely provide abortion care without risking criminality. It protects a woman’s right to decide with her doctors to have an abortion when her pregnancy has become dangerous to her health or when a fetus is non-viable. Before the passage of this law – courageously championed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers – critically ill pregnant women were forced to leave New York to get the healthcare they desperately needed. For many women, this wasn’t an option they could afford.

The question you can ask those around you who are confused and misled about this new law is how close to death does a woman need to be before doctors can intervene? Should a mother who has been diagnosed with cancer have the right to choose whether to start cancer treatment immediately, so that she has the best shot of staying alive for her dependents, even if that means terminating her latest pregnancy? Our government shouldn’t force us to to play roulette with our lives or our long-term health.

These are the real life gut wrenching dilemmas that women – our mothers before us, our sisters, friends, spouses and neighbors – face. Later abortions are rare, making up a mere 1% of pregnancy terminations – but for every woman who has needed one – they are critical.

The truth is the Reproductive Health Act is here to ensure that no matter what happens under Trump or in the Supreme Court, women in New York will have access to abortion as decided in Roe v. Wade more than four decades ago. We are proud to have fought for this legislation, and we will continue to fight with facts and truth instead of misinformation and fear.

Together with you,

Sonia Ossorio
President, NOW-NYC