Kelly Blanchard, President of Ibis Reproductive Health, released the statement below about the January 22, 2019, passage of New York’s law to protect and expand reproductive health and rights, throughout pregnancy.
“New York state law now permits abortions to be ‘performed by a licensed, certified, or authorized practitioner within 24 weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or if there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health.’ New York’s previous abortion statute, enacted three years prior to Roe v. Wade, not only banned abortions after 24 weeks’ gestation (unless the life of the pregnant person was in danger), but also limited the scope of who could provide abortion care. The revisions to the law ensure constitutional protections for abortion rights, providing clear language around who may legally perform abortion care and expanding access to abortion care throughout pregnancy.
Data shows that 91.1% of abortions occur in the first 13 weeks’ gestation, 7.6% between 14 and 20 weeks’ gestation, and 1.3% beyond 21 weeks’ gestation. At The Later Abortion Initiative (LAI), a project of Ibis Reproductive Health, we are working to protect and promote all people’s right to make their own informed decisions about their health and pregnancy. Research shows that there are many factors that are part of the decision making when it comes to later abortion (abortion after the first trimester), including delays in finding out about a pregnancy, needing time to decide what to do about an unintended pregnancy, difficulties in accessing abortion care, needing time to arrange for the resources to travel to access and/or pay for abortion care, a change in health status of the pregnant person and/or the fetus, or a change in life circumstances. We trust people to make informed decisions about their need for abortion care throughout pregnancy without interference from politicians; everyone should have access to the resources and support needed to access high-quality, stigma-free care. We applaud New York for recognizing each individual’s autonomy over decisions about their own health and pregnancy, and hope the change in law will serve as a model for other states.”