ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Lawmakers reconvened for an extraordinary session today. One topic of discussion is a proposed constitutional amendment to extend protections for New Yorkers. The amendment, if passed, could give New Yorkers the constitutional right to an abortion.
The bill language includes equal rights not based on race, color, disability or sexual orientation, also barring discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes. With the Supreme Court overturning Roe V Wade just last week, New York is looking to instill legal abortion into the state Constitution. But with abortions already being legal in the state, why would this amendment be needed?
“Administrations can change, legislators can change, we want this codified in our Constitution… and it sends a message across the country that we’re codifying this in our constitution and that’s why I think that this is a really important amendment,” said Albany Mayor, Kathy Sheehan.
And how exactly does taking up a constitutional amendment look? In New York, it can be proposed by the legislature at any time.
“If it’s adopted by the legislature for the first passage this year in 2022 and then gets passed again by the legislature say in January of 2023 after the new legislators are sworn in then it could be put on the ballot in November of 2023,” said constitution expert, Christopher Bopst.
If an amendment were to be passed in 2023, the soonest it could become law is in 2024. Republican Senator, Phil Boyle is proposing legislation to ensure New York tax payer dollars don’t pay for those coming to the state for an abortion.
“The important thing to remember is New York is gonna be a pro-choice state. The question is how far are we gonna go? And most importantly, are New York State tax payers gonna be forced to pay for abortions for women who come from out of state who don’t even live here to receive an abortion,” he said.
I did speak with several lawmakers; while they did travel from their districts to be here today, the Equality Amendment has yet to be brought to the floor for discussion. Looks like it could be a long night for lawmakers.