NYSRTL reacts to Hochul’s push to affirm reproductive rights in NY

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NEW YORK (NEWS10/WROC/WETM) — Gov. Kathy Hochul spoke alongside Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and other elected leaders and advocates on Monday. They announce an official New York response to the abortion ban passed through the Texas Legislature last month.

We spoke with a pro-life educator with the statewide organization New York State Right to Life about the governor’s agenda.

“Contemplate which side of history you’re going to be on. Where do you want to put your marker down? Where do you want to draw your line in the sand?” said Lori Kehoe with the NYSRTL. “Are you going to be one of the people who say no, we can do better for women? Or, are you going to be one of those people who someday look back and was like yeah, I was one of those champions to kill kids! Because I thought women couldn’t handle it,” she continued.

Monday’s press conference took place at the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument in Central Park at 10:15 a.m.

“We don’t get anywhere as individuals in this state. We do it collaboratively, collectively,” Hochul said. She spoke about building on the legacy of women suffragists and progressive rights for New York’s women. “Rights that I assumed would be there for my now-30-year-old daughter.”

Hochul characterized the Texas legislation as “grotesquely unfair,” saying that many women do not know when they are pregnant at six weeks—their new cut-off for the medical procedure. Hochul shared that she once went white water rafting at three months pregnant because she did not know. She said that lawmakers in Texas “denied the choice that should be yours as a woman.”

Hochul said she’s glad the Department of Justice is taking Texas to court, and also positioned New York as standing against the ban. “You do not have the leadership you deserve,” she said to voters—particularly those who might need access to abortions—in Texas. “We have to stop extremists from taking women’s rights away.”

Sen. Gillibrand also highlighted that the ban functions in a manner that creates litigious vigilantes. “It is shocking what they did in Texas—and Texas isn’t alone. Texas is just the first big idea.” She pointed to abortion matters in Mississippi that directly challenges the Roe v. Wade decision. “They want to deny women their humanity.”

“I’m going forward,” Hochul said. “I’m not going back.”

They foregrounded the importance of codifying reproductive freedom into law through the Reproductive Health Act. Gillibrand also underscored the importance of repealing the Hyde Amendment.

“Just as we’ve seen with this pandemic, we’re also waging a war against misinformation, which is a polite way of saying, ‘lies,’” Hochul said. She said that social media platforms have been hijacked to spread misinformation and disinformation. “Let them know we have expectations,” the governor said of Facebook, who she is asking to step up. “We’re calling them out.”

The Texas law—which the Supreme Court allowed to take effect on September 1—bans abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which is usually around six weeks into a pregnancy. However, six weeks into pregnancy does not mean a woman has six weeks to make a decision.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission said only about 15% of abortion procedures performed in Texas in 2020 were at less than six weeks gestational age. That’s about 8,000 abortions out of 55,000. The state’s numbers are in line with the assertion from abortion providers that the law would bar at least 85% of abortions.

A digital extra with Lori Kehoe, New York State Right To Life, can be found in the video that follows.

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