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New York Governor to Introduce Bill to Strengthen Abortion Rights

The debate on abortion is polarizing the US. Striking a blow for the pro-choice sections, New York Eliot Spitzer has said that he would introduce// a bill that would strengthen abortion rights.

Only last week a conservative-dominated Supreme Court upheld 5-4 the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, signed by President Bush in 2003. The ban criminalizes abortions in the second trimester of pregnancy that doctors say are often the safest and best to protect women's health.

There are several other states in US that are moving to tighten restrictions on abortion.

In contrast, Spitzer’s bill, the Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act, would update current law which, for example, does not include a provision allowing for abortions late in pregnancies to protect a woman’s health.

New York state laws on the books also treat abortion as a homicide, but with broad exceptions that allow the procedure in many cases.

Spitzer’s proposal would remove abortion from criminal statutes and make it a matter of professional and medical discretion. It would also repeal an old statute “that criminalizes, among other things, providing nonprescription contraception to minors,” according to the governor’s office.

“Even if the Supreme Court does not understand the law, we do,” Spitzer said and added, “New York State will continue to be a beacon of civil rights and protection of women’s rights.”

New York’s abortion law, signed in 1970 by Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, a Republican, predates the Roe v. Wade decision by three years and made New York the second state after Hawaii to broadly legalize the procedure and the first to allow abortions for out-of-state residents. In the first two years, more than half the women having abortions came from out of state.

But the law is now considered out of date.

In the circumstances, abortion rights advocates hailed the proposed legislation as a critic
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