Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a nation-leading $35 million investment to directly support abortion providers in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Governor Hochul directed the Department of Health to create a $25 million Abortion Provider Support Fund for abortion providers in order to both expand capacity and ensure access for patients seeking abortion care in New York. The Governor also announced $10 million for reproductive health care centers to access security grants through the Division of Criminal Justice Services to help ensure the safety of the providers performing this vital care.
VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:
Well, thank you, Andrea, and I want to thank you, and all the volunteers and the workers at NIRH for never giving up the fight. You have been sounding the alarm literally for years, and people never dreamed that this day would come, but thank God we’ve had you on the front lines. And so, I look forward to continuing strengthening our partnership going forward.
And I also want to acknowledge some of the other participants here today to address this this urgent issue. And that is the co-chairs of the Legislative Pro-Choice Caucus. Our great friend Senator Liz Krueger, as well as Assemblymember Karines Reyes, and I want to thank them for being on the forefront of this battle, as well as Michelle Casey, someone I’ve known a long time, who’s the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central Western New York. I want to thank Attorney General Tish James and our legislative sponsors of other ideas that are so important, as we work together to ensure that we have the rights enshrined here in our state, but also provide access to abortion. Like millions of Americans, I was horrified by that draft Supreme Court decision that came out last week. Just absolutely unconscionable to fathom what the majority of the Supreme Court is willing to do to something we have taken for granted and relied upon for half a century.
And for the sake of women across this country, I hope that that is not the final decision, but I’m going to have to proceed on the assumption that it is going to be. But we look to also reestablish, here in the State of New York, that access to reproductive healthcare is a human right. And we will defend that right to have an abortion, with the full power of New York State Government. And we’ll ensure that every single person in need of care receives that care, and will never stop fighting to make sure that New York, and women from all over who are seeking safe, accessible abortion service, receive them.
But to truly ensure that anyone seeking an abortion in New York has access to them, we have to ensure that the providers have the resources and the capacity to accommodate all patients who walk through their doors. It’s simple, if we’re going to guarantee the right to an abortion, we have to guarantee access to an abortion. And I’ve said last week, we’re not just playing defense, we’re playing offense. And that’s why we’re taking immediate action, starting today, to deliver $35 million in unprecedented funding to urgently support abortion providers to provide this access to the vital care.
The abortion services provider fund will get immediate help, resources for their clinics, while safeguarding access. And this is a nation-leading response. There’s been a lot of talk about doing something. But here in New York, those that know us, we don’t just talk, we take action. So today, I’m directing the Department of Health to create New York’s first fund ever to support abortion providers. Twenty-five million dollars, we’ll expand capacity and access for patients seeking abortion care, largest fund of its kind in our nation. One other state has a similar fund, but nowhere near the scale, we were the first large state to launch this direct support for abortion providers, here in the State of New York.
But in addition to this direct support to providers to make sure that they can be prepared for what will be an influx of patients, we also to make sure that these facilities are safe, and then the workers who go there, the clinical staff, the healthcare providers, the doctors, as well as the patients know, that they are safe when they walk down the street and enter the doors, because we are in a very different time right now. So we are announcing $10 million in security grants for reproductive health care centers.
And no one should feel unsafe accessing healthcare, abortion care, and no one should feel unsafe providing that healthcare as well. So, we have to be proactive. We have to get these security measures in place now. And we have seen the threats and actions, the action of anti-abortion violence, and the climate is getting more extreme every single day. So it’s only going to get worse as this decision is rendered in the next few weeks and we need to be ready. And we will be ready here in the state of New York.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to explore every option available in the short-term and the long-term, working with our providers, our legislators, and our advocates on many different proposals. Today is about taking action. However, we’ll take action, not just talk about it in the future, but take it right now. So, there’s an urgent need to provide this access. I’m really proud that New York will lead the nation, and hopefully set an example for the other states to realize that all of us have a responsibility to welcome with open arms those who need these services. As well as make sure New Yorkers, New York women, have complete access without wait times, that they don’t have their services disrupted either.
We’ve been fighting this battle for far too long my friends. This was a battle my mother had to fight in her thirties. I had this fight when I was in my thirties, and now my daughter, Katie, in her thirties. This is a fight that her generation is dealing with as well. But I sure as heck want to make sure that we don’t have this battle still lingering when my brand new granddaughter, Sophia, is in her thirties.
So we are laying down the marker today. We’re saying that we refuse to go backwards. We have fought too long and hard for this access and for these rights. And New York has always led the way when it comes to ensuring these kind of rights. When you think about the women, the courageous women at Seneca Falls, all those who demanded autonomy over their bodies, and their right to not be held as property of a husband. We’d like to think we’ve come a long way, but I feel we’re going backwards and not forward in this country.
That is why we are called upon, as New York women. New York women have to continue to lead this fight with our male allies, and throw down the gauntlet and say “No more.” We’re not going backwards. We know that here in the State of New York, we had access to abortion rights three years before Roe v. Wade. And we saw a huge influx of people come here at that time. Now we have to be ready. And I’ll tell you, this is deeply personal.
As the first female Governor of the State of New York, this is a fight I am willing to take on. We will roll up our sleeves and let people know where our values are. We’re not backing down, and will not stand idly by when rights of women across the entire nation are destroyed. So I am proud that we are able to continue these battles.
In 2019, we took the major step of ensuring that our state law has codified the rights within Roe v. Wade. I was proud to preside over the Senate at that time. It was a huge point of pride for all of us in 2019. And earlier this past month, we made sure that our budget reflected those same values, and said that insurance companies must cover abortion services as well.
So we’re going to keep examining our regulations, make sure that our laws are being enforced. We also are calling on social media companies to fight misinformation. We did that last fall, when I stood with Senator Gillibrand in Central Park, saying that these platforms have to make sure that the lies stop. We see how lies like the Big Lie can perpetrate through society. We have to stop the lies about abortion access and what that’s all about.
And we’re calling on the federal government at a time when we have Democrats in charge, to not just codify Roe V Wade themselves nationally, but also repeal the Hyde Amendment so support can go to women all across this nation to receive something that we consider a basic human right. So today is not our first countermeasure in the fight being waged against denying abortion access. We’ll keep playing offense. It’s where I’m most comfortable on the playing field, being aggressive on these issues.
And we’ll do whatever it takes to defend the rights of not just New York women, but women all across this nation, New York will be there. We’ll be there for them, provide essential healthcare. And so we finally say, “Don’t mess with the State of New York.” We are putting in the resources in place to make sure our providers and our patients have whatever they need to exercise those very basic human rights.
So thank you very much. And I appreciate everyone who’s joining this battle and we are ready.
I want to thank everyone for participating today to continue sounding the message loud and clear, that we will take on this fight. It’s one we wish we did not have to deal with, we have so many other issues affecting our families. Parents trying to get back to work, and moms trying to manage childcare and the cost of living going up.
And so, this should not have to even be on the radar screen, no one should have to worry about this, but unfortunately as we’ve seen, elections have consequences. And the election of Donald Trump could draw a direct line from that to the appointment of three Supreme Court Justices who are hostile to women’s rights, despite what they said during their confirmation hearings. And lesson learned by everyone.
And that’s why we’re in this battle right now, and the State of New York will embrace the opportunity to continue to lead in this space as we always have, and let people know that this is an area that is critically important to all of us as women, as human beings, and fellow Americans. So we’ll be there to provide the support and the resources, and I want to thank all my partners on this call as we begin our journey forward to try and undo and mitigate what could be devastating impacts on the lives of women, particularly women of color, people from communities where they don’t have resources, where this is an option for them to just reclaim their lives. We have to fight back on their behalf.
So I want to thank everyone very much for joining us today.