New York state Attorney General Letitia James has sent a letter to all levels of law enforcement Friday about the state’s abortion laws — some of the most robust in protecting access to abortion in the nation.
James sent the letter to district attorneys, county sheriffs, local police departments and other police across the state to reiterate abortion rights will remain protected in New York, and guidance about how to enforce those statutes. New York also serves people from other states seeking abortions or related procedures, especially after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization this summer, which overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling that protected abortion rights nationwide.
Police must protect their safety, security and privacy and not assist other states that attempt to penalize people for traveling to New York for abortion or other reproductive health services.
“As abortion rights are rolled back and banned in other states, it is important for everyone to know that New York is, and will continue to be, a safe haven for abortion access,” James said in a statement. “Everyone must understand the facts surrounding New York’s abortion access and privacy protections, especially as other states are attempting to punish people who provide or obtain abortion care. I will always fiercely defend reproductive justice and freedom of choice in New York.”
Law enforcement and the public can report incidents of interference by contacting the Office of the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Bureau at 212-416-8250 and email@example.com.
“Now more than ever, it is critical that patients seeking abortion care, abortion providers, and law enforcement officials have a clear understanding of the privacy and safety protections New York state laws provide,” said Georgana Hanson, Interim President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts. “We are grateful for the Attorney General’s unwavering leadership in addressing this issue, and know this communication and partnership will ensure that laws designed to protect bodily autonomy and essential health care are upheld in New York, while making clear that interference with reproductive health services will not be tolerated. Patient privacy and safety is paramount, and addressing the safety needs of providers and clinics is critical to keeping access to abortion care a reality.”
James sent the letter as abortion rights remain a key issue for candidates leading up to the Nov. 8 election.
She has called for a New York state Constitutional Amendment ensuring the right to an abortion and has led a coalition of states’ attorneys general fighting to protect abortion access, including part of litigation in Idaho, Texas, Arizona, Indiana and Mississippi.