Gov. Kathy Hochul vows to make New York a 'haven' for abortion, calls Texas law 'grotesque'

Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul said Monday she’s taking steps to make New York state a “haven” for women from Texas and other states that are enacting abortion restrictions.

At a news conference in Central Park in New York City, the state’s first female governor said state agencies will launch a public information campaign to highlight women’s health care rights, including access to an abortion.

“If we’re going to be a haven for people from elsewhere, we need to make sure that our health care providers are also equipped with the guidance they need,” Ms. Hochul said. “I’m also directing the Department of Health to take immediate action to develop and distribute modern and comprehensive provider guidance on their right to abortion care.”

Ms. Hochul also said she’s sending a letter to Facebook executives calling on the social media company to “clean up the act” on what she termed “misinformation” about the state’s abortion law and COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Texas over its new law that bars abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Ms. Hochul said the law is “grotesquely unfair.”

“I guarantee I did not know I was pregnant with my first child at six weeks,” the governor said. “We have to stop extremists from taking women’s rights away.”

The governor referred to the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor as a symbol of why the state should protect women from all over the nation seeking abortions.

“That [statue] is a strong, powerful woman with her hand up saying if you’ve been oppressed anywhere in this world, you come to our harbor,” Ms. Hochul said. “This is the safe harbor for people suffering from oppression. My friends, that oppression in my judgment is going on right now in the state of Texas, and our harbor is open for people to come here and understand that we will be there to take care of them and protect them.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrat, called the Texas law “abhorrent” and said other states such as Mississippi are following suit. She urged passage of a proposal in Congress that would codify the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. 

But Ms. Gillibrand said the action in Congress would be “very hard,” and said it’s another reason for filibuster “reform” in the Senate.

“I fully support filibuster reform to pass reproductive freedom in the U.S. Senate,” she said.

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