Letter: Abortion Law

I am concerned about misinformation being shared about the 2019 New York Reproductive Health Act. Our state legislature took this action several years ago because there was always the possibility that Roe v. Wade would be overturned.

As you know, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that each state had the responsibility for determining its policy regarding abortions. The Reproductive Health Act allows for a woman to have an abortion up to 24 weeks into the pregnancy. After that time, a pregnancy can be terminated only if the woman’s health or life is threatened or there is an absence of fetal viability. The law allows for an abortion to be performed by a licensed, certified or authorized practitioner under our public health laws and acting within their scope of practice, as we require for all medical procedures.

In 1970, New York had legalized abortion. This 2019 law updated the former legislation to comply with Roe and to amend the law from criminal procedure to public health.

Whatever your views are on this issue, I wanted to clarify that abortions after 24 weeks can only occur if the life or health of the woman is in jeopardy or the fetus will not be able to survive outside the womb. These rare later abortions are made in consultation with medical professionals, exercising medical judgment. The state law is specific and detailed and follows the policy established on a federal level by Roe in 1973.

Sandy Galef, Albany
Galef’s district in the state Assembly includes Philipstown.

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