Earlier today, Governor Hochul was a guest on ABC News with Trevor Ault.
AUDIO of the interview is available here.
PHOTOS of the interview are available on the Governor’s Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:
Trevor Ault: New York Governor Kathy Hochul now joins me live for more. Governor, in terms of all the issues facing the state and the country, how big of a priority is this for you right now?
Governor Hochul: Well, this is seismic. We’ve been talking about issues related to inflation, rising costs of prices for families, and crime, and a lot of issues I’ve been focusing on, but this was a bombshell, to realize that something that had been talked about as a hypothetical for years, but would really never happen, the reality is just like a punch in the nose.
I mean, people are saying this could actually happen in a matter of weeks. So it was an extraordinary development, I think this has just turned the political world upside down, first of all, and I think that this is unfortunate, but we’ll be ready to take it to the streets and continue to remind people why elections have consequences. We’re ready here in the State of New York.
Trevor Ault: We heard in that statement of yours that New York is going to be welcoming those who need access to abortion with open arms. How are you making sure that that stays the case?
Governor Hochul: Well, first of all, we’re going to be checking in our own laws. I’m very proud that the State of New York, in anticipation after Donald Trump’s election that something like this could happen, and in 2019 we passed something known as the Reproductive Health Act, which really enshrines in our state law all the protections of Roe v. Wade.
But we want to go another step. I want to have this enshrined, not just in state law, but in our constitution, just in case there ever is a situation where we lose the House, lose the Senate, heaven forbid, and I don’t believe that’ll happen, but planning for the worst case scenarios. If there ever was a federal law that would supersede our state law, we want to make sure it’s in our constitution.
So we’re protecting New Yorkers, but also letting people in other states know that there’ll be no vigilante justice when it comes to New York. We’re looking at our laws right now to find out how we can protect providers and people who come to our state for this as well. So we made sure that our insurance companies are now required to cover abortions. We have Medicaid assistance, one of the 15 states that provide Medicaid coverage of abortion.
So it’s a whole different ball game here in the state of New York, but that doesn’t mean our hearts don’t ache for our sisters in all these other states that are going to be really under the rule of tyranny now, no control over their own bodies, I mean this is absolutely appalling.
Trevor Ault: I did want to drill down on what you bring up there, that some of these other states, they’re not only banning abortion in their state, but they’re trying to work to allow lawsuits against anybody who helps somebody get an abortion, even if there’s a resident for another state. You say you’re looking into it, are there safeguards that actually can be put in place?
Governor Hochul: Well, we’re looking at our extradition agreements, we’re looking at whether or not we would comply with subpoenas. Yeah, we’re taking a look. We’re leaving no stone unturned to make sure that New Yorkers and people across this country are safe to continue to receive something we consider a human right. It’s about autonomy and control of your body, and if this is going to be violated by Donald Trump’s picks on the Supreme Court, then we’re standing ready to take every action we possibly can to protect these fundamental rights.
This has been a battle my mother’s generation, my generation, my daughter’s generation – and now I have a brand new granddaughter, this should not have to be the fight of her generation as well.
Trevor Ault: You talked about how this could lead to some legislation at the federal level. A lot of people now, particularly those who are pro-choice, are concerned about Democrats losing the majority. You recently appointed a new Lieutenant Governor, Antonio Delgado, which has raised some question as to whether that could result in Democrats losing another seat in Congress. Is that a concern for you?
Governor Hochul: It’s not going to happen. I’m going to be working very hard to elect a Democrat in that seat. I don’t think it’s going to be that difficult, especially with the fact that there’s now an issue that people realize, yes, elections have consequences.
This is what happens when you elect Republicans, therefore in a state like New York, don’t do that. We actually have a candidate running for Governor on the Republican line, a current member of Congress, Lee Zeldin, who said that he would appoint a pro-life Health Commissioner if he was elected Governor.
This is the State of New York, that’s not going to happen. But people need to know, that’s why they need to be motivated to get out and vote. And I think this is going to result in an absolute shift in what people have predicted for the November election. We will be keeping the House. We’ll be keeping the Senate. We’ll be keeping the state houses that are up right now. This is a game changer for the party. I wish it wasn’t so. I’d rather not have these rights stripped away, but we’re going to let people know why this happened and it’s under Republican domination.
Trevor Ault: I am wondering about that because you used the term Republican domination. There’s been some frustration from some Democratic voters saying there’s a Democratic President, they have the majority in Congress, in the House and in the Senate, and still here we are. What is your message to those Democratic voters who are feeling a little bit frustrated and maybe a little bit lost that there’s not going to be any action taken other than saying the Republicans have been doing this?
Governor Hochul: No, I’m saying Republican domination of the Supreme Court. I mean, that’s the result of the nominees picked by a Republican President at the time. No, we have the power in our state houses. And again, places like New York, residents should be reassured that not only do we have protections in place right now, we’re finding ways to strengthen them and make sure that our providers and our facilities have more resources. We’ll make sure that no one is turned away because of not having enough accessibility and affordability. So, we’re going to continue protecting the residents of our state as well as leading by example.
You know, New York State provided or allowed legal abortion three years before Roe v. Wade. And as a result we saw, even in those early years, thousands of people came to our state. So this is not new to us. We’ve always been leading on these issues and we’re going to continue to do so in the future. So, Democratic voters should know that the Democratic states are the ones that are protecting their rights, the rights of women.
And companies need to pay attention to this as well. Companies that are headquartered in those other states. They may want to be taking a look at what they’re going to be subjecting their female employees to if they continue to remain there.
Trevor Ault: And we’ve seen a few companies that are already offering to pay for the travel for any of their employees who might be going out of state for an abortion. Just the last question, Governor Hochul. I think you’ve been quite clear on this, but just to state it in plain language, you are saying that regardless of what happens, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, if Congress passes a federal law banning abortion, any woman who decides that she wants an abortion will be welcomed in New York State for that procedure. Is that what you’re saying?
Governor Hochul: They may come to New York. We’re going to make sure that our providers have everything they need to be able to handle the volume, our insurance companies pay for it, we have Medicaid, we’re going to make sure that these are rights that we hold dear. New York State is the birthplace of the Women’s Rights Movement. We’re always at the forefront and we will protect the rights of women anywhere.
Trevor Ault: Governor Kathy Hochul. We appreciate your time. Thank you.