New York Gov. Kathy Hochul: ‘Young Women … Are Coming Up to Me, Putting Their Arms Around My Neck and Sobbing’

( – New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told President Joe Biden on Friday that women have been coming up to her “sobbing” over the Supreme Court overturning Roe V. Wade. 

Speaking during the president’s virtual meeting with governors on “reproductive rights,” Hochul said that she issued a proclamation saying that women will not be discriminated against based on “pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes and reproductive health care and autonomy.”

This is a frightening time for women all across our nation, a lot of fear and anxiety out there, and I hear it from women all across the state. They come up to me at subway stops in New York City, at farmer’s markets. Literally young women who never even had to think about this right are coming up to me, putting their arms around my neck and sobbing, so there is such stress out there.

In the state of New York, this came a day after the Supreme Court also told us we did not have the right to protect our citizens from people carrying concealed weapons in places like subways in Times Square, et cetera. So what I had to do is convene an extraordinary session, because they weren’t due back until January.

I brought them back, and literally at 2 am this morning while we’re still working on the gun legislation, I changed my proclamation to say we’ll also include to give further protections for women in the state what we call the equality agenda. This will prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes and reproductive health care and autonomy.

Hochul said she hopes that her “equality agenda” will be passed by both houses of the New York Legislature “to enshrine abortion rights in our state Constitution.”

“So as long as I’m governor, these rights will not be rolled back, but we also are prepared to serve as a destination for women who’ll be looking to a place just like New York and other states – and my colleagues on the call – as a safe harbor,” the governor said.

Hochul laid out the steps she’s taking to ensure that New Yorkers and women from outside the state can get abortions in her state. She said women in New York don’t know whether they can still get abortions in New York.


So even before the Supreme Court decision, I knew I had to beef up our opportunities for women to come to our states. We allocated $35 million right off the bat to go to providers so they could hire more people, expand their space and make sure that they could keep their staff safe from violence as well, and we also decided to mandate all insurance companies doing business in the state of New York now have to cover abortion, and I signed six bills related to protecting our providers after the decision came down.

We’ll stop the extradition of any search for one of our providers or a woman who’s in our state were wanted on criminal charges. That’s not happening in New York, and we’re also defending our abortion providers from malpractice and other lawsuits. We also launched a public awareness campaign, because there’s a lot of misinformation.

Women in New York are seeing the national news. They don’t know whether their rights are protected here in New York, so we’re going to continue to be leaders in this fight, protect our providers, protect them from the vigilante justice, which has been unleashed by the state that are going to allow these private rights of action where they’re going to hunt down women and providers. This is chaos. It’s frightening but also we’re doing what we can to make sure that we are protected.

What’s happening now? The rights of millions of women across this country are now falling on the shoulders of just a handful of states. Just a handful of states are now going to have to take care of the health care of women from other states, so we believe as you do Mr. President that what’s available to New Yorkers and the other enlightened states should be able to all Americans, and no one should have to travel, and that’s why as you agree with us, Congress has to act.

The governor also sent a letter to Congress urging passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act.

“So what we’re doing at the state level is key, but I completely agree with you and I commend you, Mr. President, for standing up and talking about the fact that it is the filibuster that’s preventing the majority of senators, and it is the majority of senators who want to speak on behalf of the majority of Americans, but we understand our options are limited until next January, with a new Senate,” she said.

“And we’re all going to be focusing very hard on that outcome, because it is a matter of life and death for American women, because we do not want to go back to the days, anywhere in this country, of the back-alley abortions, which are real. I talked to one of my neighbors down the hall, whose husband used to perform these abortions before abortion was legal in New York State in 1970,” Hochul said.

The governor asked for more help at the federal level, saying she believes “more can be done to fund family planning services more broadly to allow the providers and their clinics to have federal resources for these services, and they can focus on private dollars for abortion services.”

“And I’m really grateful that you’re putting an emphasis on what’s going to happen for women to be able to continue to receive abortion services by mail. I mean, this is going to be a battle that when — that people would not have foreseen. We want to make sure that there’s no unlawful interference, and we have to do that to ease public concerns,” she said.

Hochul also urged the president to consider his ability to use “federal facilities” for abortions, namely “veterans’ hospitals, military bases, and other places where the federal government controls the jurisdiction in some of the states that are hostile to women’s rights, and make sure that those services can be available to other women.”
“So those are just a few of the ideas that we encourage you to look at — an idea of what we’re doing at the New York State level, but literally before close of business today, we will have the first step toward a process of changing our Constitution, which is the boldest step we can take, and we just started that today,” the governor said.


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