Controversial Abortion Law Passed In New York


Of the roughly 1.6 million abortions performed each year in the United States, 91 percent are in the first trimester and around 9 percent are in the second trimester (before 24 weeks). Only about 100, or less than 0.1 percent, are performed in the third. A new law in the state of New York may now allow for third trimester abortions to become more frequent, if the right circumstances occur.

Prior to the Reproductive Health Act, which was signed into a law on January 22, 2019, by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, abortions in the third trimester were a criminal offense, unless the mother’s life is in immediate danger. The new abortion law will now allow abortions after 24 weeks to protect the mother’s life or in cases where the fetus will not survive, or will not have a good quality of life, outside of the womb. Additionally, the legislation decriminalizes abortions altogether and “it will be easier for physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners to perform abortions.”

The Reproductive Health Act was originally introduced in 2006, but pro-life supporters, including mostly Republican state senators, shot down the bill year after year. The bill finally passed the New York State Senate and State Assembly this January after the November 2018 elections brought many new elected officials into office. Since the law was passed, it has been met with major backlash, especially from religious groups.

In an effort to find some opinions on this new legislation, a group of students from Adams were asked their opinions on the new law. Most found it to be a good thing, if the law is not abused. One student said that “late term abortions in necessary situations being decriminalized is good due to the fact that some conditions aren’t found until late in the pregnancy.” All of the students agreed that the requirement of a physician’s professional opinion in order to get a late term abortion was also a good thing. “I think that it is good that the doctor has to make the decision so that parents can’t just decide,” said one student, “but I think that it may also be hard for the doctors to decide what situations are absolute necessary for a late term abortion.” Some students were also concerned about trusting a doctor with such a important responsibility.