While states across the country enact legislation that severely restricts access to abortion care, one lawmaker is touting New York’s commitment to reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy.
As one in four women will have an abortion by age 45, Progressive New York State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi is trying to break down barriers for reproductive healthcare for New York women with her Abortion Access bill. The legislation, if approved, would amend the state finance and tax laws to allow taxpayers to make a charitable gift on their personal income tax returns to organizations like Planned Parenthood and other clinics.
The lawmaker said she’s disgusted that states like Texas have banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy since Sept. 1. Meanwhile, Mississippi is trying to enact the same laws after 15 weeks. Biaggi, along with many women’s rights advocates in the nation, are also worried Roe v. Wade could be overturned in the Supreme Court.
“It (the bill) gives an opportunity for people who may not be able to access traditional child care or abortion needs,” Biaggi told the Bronx Times about her bill.
The senator, who worked with Planned Parenthood on crafting the legislation, said the bill has been sitting in committee since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Biaggi said the money would be collected by the state Comptroller’s Office and then distributed to the nonprofits that provide abortion services. This fund would help the many women who often can’t afford an abortion or are unable to get to an abortion facility, she said.
The bill has the support of Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, Biaggi said in hopes that it passes through Albany next month when the Legislature returns to session.
“It’s our job to send the bill to her desk,” she said, referring to Hochul. “A lot of people believe this is a no-brainer. When Democrats delay progress on access to abortion it kind of makes us stop and wonder.”
While Biaggi has faith that the bill will be signed into law, she fears the country is headed in the wrong direction. Many of the people against abortions are the same ones who say it’s their body, their choice when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the progressive.
“There’s a root with this, to controlling women’s bodies, that goes all the way back to the beginning of time,” she said. “In places like Texas and Mississippi, there’s a really strange philosophy that if a woman becomes pregnant and raped, many people believe she should still have the child. It doesn’t make sense. No one should be forced to raise a child they didn’t plan to have.”
Reach Jason Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.