Governor Kathy Hochul Joins NOW Activists, Patients, and Women’s Rights Leaders to Defend Women’s Healthcare
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2021 – Brooklyn, NY – Today, the National Organization for Women – NY mobilized with members, allies, and elected leaders to send a clear message that the Texas abortion ban is unconstitutional and dangerous to the lives of women and people in need of reproductive healthcare in the U.S. The law, which went into effect on September 1st, is the most extreme ban in effect in the country, ending access to abortion after just six weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest. Since most women don’t even yet know they are pregnant at six weeks, the law effectively ends abortion in the state of Texas. The law is also unique in that it puts enforcement in the hands of individual citizens instead of the state, creating an unprecedented hostile legal environment that allows anyone to sue abortion providers or anyone deemed to “aid or abet” an abortion in civil court for upwards of $10,000. Other anti-abortion states are already looking to replicate the model, setting a dangerous course for women’s access to abortion nationwide.
NOW-NYC President Abby Dobson said, “Reproductive freedom has always been as much about economic justice as gender justice. The new statutory landscape in Texas makes it virtually impossible for marginalized women to access abortion.”
“This extreme and unconstitutional abortion ban is a dystopian assault on women’s lives and dignity,” said Sonia Ossorio, president of NOW-NY. “The fact that the law’s enforcement has been put directly into the hands of anti-abortion forces is dangerous. It’s creating a culture of fear and intimidation in Texas that will make it harder for women to access any form of reproductive healthcare – including abortion.”
SB8 allows anyone – even strangers – to file a lawsuit against any person they suspect is going to either provide an abortion or help a person obtain an abortion past six weeks’ gestation, asking the court to issue an injunction stopping that person from performing or aiding and abetting the abortion. If the civil lawsuit is won, the minimum damage amount is $10,000.
Ossorio said, “When your neighbor can sue you for helping someone with a personal decision they made regarding their own medical care, it’s nothing less than outrageous.”
In a devastating 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court refused to take immediate action to block this unconstitutional law, causing direct harm to women and people seeking abortion and reproductive healthcare. Beyond Texas, the Supreme Court has agreed to review a challenge to Mississippi’s law that criminalizes abortion after 15 weeks. In a state that already has only one abortion clinic remaining. It’s the gravest threat yet to Roe v. Wade. With a supermajority conservative Supreme Court make up of 6-3, federal protection to the right of abortion could come to an end before the year ends. In the past decade more than 550 abortion restrictions have been put in place, rendering huge swaths of the country with little or no access to abortion.
Ossorio said, “We are, however, encouraged that the U.S. Department of Justice is challenging the Texas abortion law. Texas should lose federal funds for its blatant attack on women’s constitutional rights.”
Dobson said, “It’s simple.The politicians who are elected through voter suppression targeting Black and Brown communities are the same ones who make laws like S.B.8, who elect presidents who appoint conservative Supreme Court justices, who once confirmed turn around and tip the scale away from reproductive justice. Reproductive justice is about voting rights and racial justice as much as it is about gender justice.”
“Make no mistake, the future of reproductive freedom throughout the United States is in grave and imminent danger. Federal protection to the right to abortion may end very soon without increased huge public protest. That is why we are standing with Texas women and will continue to be a mobilizing force against abortion bans,” Ossorio said.
NOW-NY advocates for laws that defend our rights and break barriers for women and girls. We work to advance economic opportunity and fairness in the workplace, protect and expand reproductive rights, and strengthen our criminal justice system for victims of gender-based violence. Take action with us.
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