Democratic lawmakers in New York are renewing calls for the creation of the Abortion Access Fund, which they say would minimize the cost of abortion services for low-income New Yorkers.
The fund would allow a taxpayer to donate to a non-profit that provides abortion services on their personal income tax forms.
Senate sponsor Alessandra Biaggi, a Democrat from the Bronx, said the measure is a response to attacks on reproductive healthcare on the national level.
“Just a few weeks ago, we learned that the United States Supreme Court plans to take up a case on the right to abortion in the state of Mississippi, challenging the fate of Roe v. Wade,” Biaggi said. “It is not just sufficient to say that abortion is a right, by passing the RHA, that everybody has access to. We have to also make it accessible.”
The RHA, or Reproductive Health Act, was passed in 2019 as a top priority for Democrats in the Legislature, who had just taken the majority in the State Senate. The legislation removed abortion from being a prosecutable offense under the state’s penal law.
Abortion is now a part of the state’s health law.
Supporters of the Abortion Access Fund say that access is the next major issue, as people in poor or minority communities are often unable to afford the procedure. Sen. Robert Jackson (D-Manhattan) said that this is a part of racial justice.
“Longstanding racial, ethnic disparities in reproductive health, services, and outcomes, are rooted in legacies of unequal treatment,” Jackson said.
The bill is currently in the Ways and Means Committee in the Assembly, and the Finance Committee in the Senate.