January 22, 2016

Speaker Heastie Statement on the 43rd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

As we acknowledge the 43rd anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, I am proud that New York State has always been a progressive leader on reproductive rights. Even so, it is important to remember that the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right to choose is under attack and increasingly out of reach for far too many women.

For forty three years, we have watched endless efforts throughout the country to chip away at this critical anchor in the fight for women's equality.

In the coming months, the United States Supreme Court will begin their review of the latest challenge in the fight for reproductive freedom, Whole Woman's Health v. Cole. For a state to enact such burdensome and unattainable standards like those imposed under Texas H.B. 2, which serve no other purpose than to smother access to critical health services and suppress a woman's rights, is wrong. These attempts to circumvent the Constitution are a grave threat to the civil liberties that are the very cornerstone of this great nation.

That is why our work here in New York to enshrine the protections granted by the Roe v. Wade decision is so important. Every woman in this state has the absolute right to decide matters of her own health and unimpeded access to the health services necessary to exercise that right. In the coming weeks the Assembly will take up and pass legislation in support of these vital protections by codifying Roe v. Wade in New York, because the women and families of this state deserve progress, not regress.