New York’s attorney general said Wednesday that the state should create a fund to help out-of-state women come to seek abortions if the Supreme Court overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and allows other states to ban the procedure.
Letitia James, a Democrat who is also running for governor next year, said overturning Roe would leave women in about half the states without local access to abortions, and she said New York should step in and help them.
Her proposal came just minutes before the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on a case involving Mississippi’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks into a pregnancy. Mississippi has asked the justices to overturn Roe.
“While we remain committed to fighting Mississippi’s unconstitutional abortion ban, we must be ready to support women in Mississippi and a host of other states if this dangerous law is upheld,” Ms. James said. “We, here in New York, must set up a fund to ensure that any woman, anywhere in the country, can look to New York as a safe haven that will allow them to make the reproductive health care decisions that are best for them.”
Before Roe, states set abortion policy, with some states allowing more access than others. Should Roe be overturned, the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for abortion rights, calculates that 26 states already have laws on the books that would tighten access to the procedure, in some cases resulting in a total ban.
Nine of those states still have bans on the books from before 1973. Other states have enacted “trigger” bans, which will snap into place should the court rule in Mississippi’s favor.
Ms. James said New York should set aside “meaningful funding” to cover costs of transportation, housing and the abortion procedure itself. The money would be available to women who live in a state where abortion was no longer available.