The New York Senate bill S2796 enacts the Reproductive Health Act. The purpose of this bill is to amend the penal law, criminal law and county law. The bill states that abortion may be done 24 weeks from commencement of pregnancy. This bill also states the removal of the crime of abortion in criminal, county and judiciary law. This bill updates New York’s abortion statutes to fix a problem in our laws and recognize a woman’s to access safe, legal abortion. Abortion is a very controversial topic because people argue that it is killing someone who has the freedom to live, but others say women should have a reproductive freedom. Bill S2796 to enact the Reproductive Health Act is sponsored by Liz Krueger. Krueger states that “Complex and personal decisions about reproductive health care are the sole right and responsibility of a woman and her medical providers” (2017 Legislature). This bill was introduced to senate by Krueger on January 17th, 2017. The current bill status is in Senate in the Health Committee. The next steps for this bill include, passing assembly, passing senate, delivering to the governor and signed by the governor. The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, is Democratic and pro-choice, and he has actively spoken out about the issue, which would positively influence the passing of this bill. Cuomo believes that a woman has that right to make a choice in her unplanned or problematic pregnancy “Because it’s her body. It’s her choice” (Newsday). Before it gets to the Cuomo, it has to pass in the assembly and senate, which will be close call considering the divide between pro-choice and pro-life. This bill needs to act fast as the supreme court begins to lean towards the right. If the supreme court cases of “Roe v. Wade in 1973, Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, and the clarification of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt in 2016” are overturned, all of what New York has based the laws off of will diminish. That’s why Liz Krueger along with other advocates like Andrea-Stewart Cousins, Tony Avella and Jamaal Bailey are working to make a change in reproductive rights. The legal definition of a abortion in New York is “Within first 24 weeks or necessary to preserve mother’s life; if mother performs abortion it must be on the advice of M.D. within the first 24 weeks or to preserve her own life” (FindLaw). If the abortion is done illegally in New York, a woman can face up to Class E or D felony. New York is considered less restrictive compared to other abortion laws around the country. It’s important to understand why New York needs Ehe Reproductive Health Act to pass, which is because it’s time abortion to be taken out of the criminal code and put into health law. This country’s reproductive rights are under attack by federal law, so New York must act fast in order to secure the Reproductive Health Act. Reproductive rights are very big issue in today’s society. People are stuck between their morals and what is right and fair for certain people. New York was actually the first state to pass laws to protect women’s reproductive health in 1970 (Heastie). Since that time, the Assembly Majority has and will continue to pass legislation to expand our rights for protection. During the most recent legislative session, the Assembly passed a measure to protect New Yorkers from discrimination in the workplace based on their reproductive health choices. The Reproductive Health Act permits healthcare professionals to provide health care “without fear of criminal consequences, allowing providers to keep a woman’s health front and center in every clinical decision” (Heastie). The Reproductive Health Act encourages doctors to be doctors, and for them to save lives, protect reproductive health, and support families. New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman spoke up and said, “It is long past time for New York to fully recognize a woman’s ownership of her body and her destiny. Now that a new regime in Washington urgently threatens women’s rights, we can’t afford to wait any more. The Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act are both critical to safeguarding women’s health, dignity and rights in New York” (Heastie). With many speakers vocal about the issue, it is helpful in encouraging people to take action for bill S2796 to be passed. The biggest problem for bill S2796 is the split between Republicans and Democrats. The trend I’ve noticed from past bills and ballot initiatives is the passion Democrats have for women to make their own reproductive decisions, while Republicans believe in anti-abortion. Many reproductive rights advocates were worried the election of Donald Trump and the many republican positions in government would restrain their fight for reproductive rights. By January, “four states had already introduced late-term abortion bans, while others like Missouri, had filed a significant number of anti-abortion-related legislation ahead of this year’s legislative session”   (Lockhart). With an increase of Republican viewpoints, the voices of Democrats and reproductive right advocates have been lost. Just this year, “Kentucky, Wyoming, Arizona, Arkansas and Utah have already passed at least one abortion restriction” (Lockhart). The numbers that represent the hostile conditions women deal with for states that are anti-abortion are outrageous. For examples, “93% of women in the south live in a state with hostile anti-abortion laws”(Nash). With numbers this high, there is a clear trend of advocates for anti-abortion and anti-reproductive rights increasing. These numbers could affect the outcome of bill S2796. On the other hand, there are still plenty of advocates and states fighting for their rights. From a recent study, a  trend showing how people are still fighting to expand reproductive health rights – “the number of proactive measures grew from 221 in 2015 and 353 in 2016 to 405 in 2017″(Lockhart). This bill has a good chance of passing the New York State Senate with a Democratic majority, which will favor the Reproductive Health Act and Pro-Choice. It is important that this bill gets through assembly and senate as soon as possible. This is because Federal Law may be able to overturn old Supreme Court cases involving abortion like, Roe vs. Wade.A group based in New York, called the Feminists for nonviolent choices, “that seeks to open minds to its philosophy of pro-life feminism, the belief that all people, by virtue of their human dignity, have a right to live without violence from conception to natural death” (McQueen). The Feminists for nonviolent choices are against the bill S2796. In July of 2016, Rachel Leigh Peller, was interviewed from Feminists for nonviolent choices on “Should Abortion Be Criminalized?” Having a televised interview brought a lot of attention to the touchy subject and this group that will be fighting against bills like this one. The Feminists for nonviolent choices, “seeks to open minds to its philosophy of pro-life feminism, the belief that all people, by virtue of their human dignity, have a right to live without violence from conception to natural death” (McQueen). The Feminists for nonviolent choices are against the bill S2796. Their group is based out of Rochester, New York which makes them capable of having a huge impact on the New York bill S2796. They fight against this bill by being a nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization that seeks to return to the grassroots of pro-life feminism. Feminists for nonviolent choices hosts educational community events featuring local and national experts during March to commemorate Women’s History Month. An event that went well for this group was a screening of Lives Worth Living followed by a panel and question and answer session with disability rights advocates, in 2016. TEDx speaker Karen Gaffney addressed students at a local high school to a standing ovation (ROC). Another recent event in July of 2016, Rachel Leigh Peller, was interviewed from Feminists for nonviolent choices on “Should Abortion Be Criminalized?” Having a televised interview brought a lot of attention to the touchy subject and this group that will be fighting against bills like this one. Another recent action this group took was a presentation to the students at Fordham University on the consistent life ethic, intersectional feminism and nonviolence. This group accepts all interns to work graphics for the facebook page, organized rallies and intensive research. You can decide to become a liaison, and “FFNVC will provide direction, suggestions, supplies, and membership lists” for the area you live in (McQueen). Most of the jobs in this group are non-profit and are volunteer opportunities. Feminists for nonviolent choices accept donations, and base their work off of their donations. Their most recently reported assets from their site in 2015 was “$65,315” (GuideStar). Contributions pay for speakers fees, venue rentals, travel, and advertising. Feminists for nonviolent choices is working towards rejecting the bill S2796 by voicing their opinions to schools around Rochester. The group has been contacting their donors and volunteers to call the State Senate and people around their are to inform them against the bill. Feminists for nonviolent choices have a steady foundation on social media- the facebook page has almost 6000 followers, over 6000 likes and over 100 posts made on their timeline from their followers. Feminists for nonviolent choices uses social media as a main source of encouraging the people of New York to be against bill S2796.A national group that has sub groups in each state, called NARAL- pro choice America, fight to “organize and mobilize to protect that freedom by fighting for access to abortion care, birth control, paid parental leave and protections from pregnancy discriminations” (NARAL). NARAL stands for National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. This group is for the bill because they believe every women should have the choice with their pregnancy. NARAL has recently joined forces with actor-activist David Eigenberg, to support Men for Choice. This was an important action because having men on the same side shows a lot about the different types of people and amount of people that support pro choice and this bill. A national group that has sub groups in each state, called NARAL- pro choice America, fight to “organize and mobilize to protect that freedom by fighting for access to abortion care, birth control, paid parental leave and protections from pregnancy discriminations” (NARAL). This group is for the bill because they believe every woman should have the choice with their pregnancy. NARAL has recently joined forces with actor-activist David Eigenberg, to support Men for Choice. Having a male figure in support of the bill S2796 is important because there will now be a wider variety of people in support of this. The staff members at NARAL Pro-Choice America are experts at organizing for social change,and they have a passion for protecting and expanding reproductive freedom. NARAL is accepting all people for a job, who are passionate for reproductive rights, to add to the one million member activists. Some of this group’s money goes to pay for active employees. Which is beneficial in a way because these are the people that are organizing and getting more jobs done for the group. NARAL has “$11.240,194” in donations, contributions, grants and investments, and they spend “$8,933,202” on campaigns and programs, in reason to the fiscal year end in September 20, 2016. A significant success this group had in favor of a woman’s health and reproductive freedom was the repeal of the Affordable Care Act: a threat to Medicaid, anyone with a pre-existing condition, and necessary access to health care for women and families. This defeat was made possible by activists who stood up with a passionate resistance and made thousands of phone calls and sent 50,000 messages to Congress opposing the repeal. An upcoming event NARAL has is a Power of Choice Luncheon on March 1st, 2018.  This event will feature keynote speakers, who are nationally recognized leaders in the pro-choice community, that plan to inspire guests and share their perspectives on this important issue. At this event, they opportunity to honor our Champions of Choice, those who have acted in extraordinary ways to preserve reproductive freedom. Big events like these are opportunities to learn about the current NARAL initiatives from our president, Ilyse Hogue. Ilyse Hogue regularly contributes commentary to news outlets such as the “New York Times, CNN.com, the Nation, Cosmopolitan, and ELLE Magazine. She was featured as one of ELLE Magazine’s “10 Most Powerful Women in D.C.” and was named on Washington Life’s Power 100 list” (NARAL). Ilyse has many connections to big name news programs, newspapers and people in New York, but it is hard for there to a big influence since New York State is in a split decision over abortion. NARAL activists in New York are fighting to make abortion safe and legal for all women, regardless of ZIP code or income. These activists are trying to mobilize together to help pass NY bill S2796. NARAL pro-choice America has an impressive social media foundation, with 404000 followers and over 2000 posts. With an incredibly large foundation, NARAL is able to get across to people all over America interested in making a difference and enacting the Reproductive Health Act. In the future, they want to help elect candidates who will be an advocate for reproductive freedom, along with continuing to educate and inform the public of fundamental human rights.I believe that New York bill S2796 will be passed in 2018 because of the huge amount of support in for the Reproductive Health Act, and especially because Governor Cuomo is for the bill. I understand that the bill must pass assembly and senate before being brought to Cuomo to sign, but Cuomo has a huge influence on our senators. With the federal law against bills like the Reproductive Health Act, it’s important for New York to pass this bill in order to influence more states to follow in the footsteps. I think the outcome of this bill has a huge impact on further states decisions regarding abortion, but the focus should be on whether federal law will ultimately override the supreme court case of Roe vs. Wade. Roe vs. Wade was made in “1973 by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of the constitutionality of laws that criminalized access to abortions,” which ended in the legalization of abortion (Lockhart). If federal law overturns this Supreme Court case, states would give jurisdiction to the states to decide on abortion. For example, “four states have passed laws that would immediately outlaw abortion if Roe were overturned (Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota),” which would defeat the whole purpose of the Reproductive Health Act. If Roe vs. Wade is overturned, New York would go back to an outdated, unfair, criminalized abortion law from 1973. New York’s decision on bill S2796 would widely benefit woman in New York, but  can only influence other states to follow in their footsteps. If bill S2796 is passed it affects women across the country that depend on New York for their reproductive rights, but the outcome of this specific bill will not affect the future policy in the whole country. My opinion on bill S2796 is that it should pass. I am completely pro-choice- I believe every woman has the right to choose what is right for her body, and how she will benefit from it. The Reproductive Health Act will save woman whose pregnancies are problematic or unplanned, and especially those who couldn’t before afford abortion. I value my reproductive rights and will fight to protect them.

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