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Hochul adds abortion issue to extraordinary session

Jul 01, 2022 1:23 pm

Nick Reisman reports for New York State of Politics that Gov. Kathy Hochul's office on July 1 announced an amendment to New York's constitution about abortion rights would be added to the legislature's current extraordinary session. Lawmakers were called back to address gun laws, after the Supreme Court struck down the state's concealed carry law. But many lawmakers also wanted to address the abortion issue, after the Supreme Court allowed state's to ban the medical procedure. "Recent Supreme Court rulings have threatened the rights of New Yorkers to make decisions about their own bodies and our right to protect New Yorkers from gun violence, but we refuse to stand idly by, and we must act," Hochul said. "I thank Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie for working through the day and night on these bold actions in response to these reckless Supreme Court decisions. We will enact legislation to strengthen our laws on concealed carry weapons, and building on our nation-leading protections for abortion patients and providers, New York State will take an unprecedented step toward enshrining the fundamental right to abortion access into our State Constitution. Let me be clear: We will do everything in our power to protect New Yorkers." Now state legislators will debate whether to vote on a broad equality amendment or a narrow provision just to ensure abortion rights. Jason McGuire, the executive director of the conservative New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, opposes any amendment, saying in a Twitter post it would "pit conscience protections for Pro Life doctors against a woman seeking a late-term abortion." Legislators can only start the process to approve a constitutional amendment this summer. To pass a constitutional amendment requires the approval of two separately elected sessions of the Legislature and a general public ballot referendum. So it would take a legislative vote this year, another next year, and then could be on a statewide ballot in 2024. Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.

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