The New York State Legislature passed an Equal Rights Amendment that would help update the state’s constitution.

“In the 1938 version of the constitution, we said people of different races and different religions were protected from discrimination. We didn’t even think of women then. So it wasn’t women, it wasn’t gender identity. It wasn’t LGBTQ, it wasn’t even people of different ethic and country origins. So people think that if you’re Latino, you’re protected in our constitution— it’s not really clear you are, because it’s not a race, it’s a language group,” explained Senator Liz Krueger.

The goal of the amendment is to expand and enshrine protections for LGBTQ individuals, the elderly, those with disabilities, and women— including the right to make choices on pregnancy outcomes.

State lawmakers believe this would give the state a better legal argument in court if the federal government were to ever create a federal abortion ban.

“Every step that we take in a post Roe world towards greater reproductive freedom and justice is monumental. There is no small deed when the stakes are this high,” said Senate Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

This legislation has now passed in two consecutive legislative sessions which is a requirement before it can be voted on by the public. It will be on the ballot in 2024.