How To: Support the NY State Reproductive Health Act

Support the New York State Reproductive Health Act to get abortion removed from New York State’s Penal Code.

Status Quo

New York State’s Penal Code currently defines abortion as a homicide unless the pregnant woman is less than 24 weeks pregnant or her life is in jeopardy. It does not make any provisions to allow abortions in for unviable pregnancies or if a woman’s health is at risk after 24 weeks. This law is not enforced because it conflicts with the findings of Roe v. Wade, but if that decision were to be revoked, it would be the effective law in New York State.

Additionally, New York State Education Law has a provision (number 8 in that link) that prohibits the sale distribution of contraceptives to minors under the age of sixteen, requires the sale of contraceptives to person who are sixteen or over may be authorized only by a licensed pharmacist, and prohibits the advertisement or display of contraceptives. It was found to be unconstitutional in 1977 and is not followed, but the law was never updated.

Reproductive Health Act

The Reproductive Health Act passed the New York State Assembly on January 17, 2017 and is currently in committee in the New York State Senate as Bill S2796.

The bill does these key things:

  • States that “every individual has the right to choose or refuse contraception.”
  • States that “every woman has the fundamental right to determine the course of her pregnancy.”
  • Repeals the section of the NY State Education Law pertaining to contraceptives.
  • Removes abortion-related crimes in NY State Penal Law by ammending the definition of “homicide” to remove references to “unborn child” and abortion.

How to Support It

  1. Find your New York State Senator. Call and ask them to support the Reproductive Health Act.
  2. Find your New York State Assembly Member. Check here to see how they voted on the act when it was in the Assembly. If they voted yes, call to thank them. If they voted no, call to tell them you’re disappointed with their decision.


I learned about the RHA this weekend at an activism meeting held by the Planned Parenthood of the Mid-Hudson Valley. Thank them for keeping us informed and safe by donating to Planned Parenthood.

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