Organizations on either side of the abortion debate in New York are preparing for a ruling that could overturn Roe v. Wade as early as this month, mobilizing supporters and advocates ahead of a campaign season.
The efforts come as Gov. Kathy Hochul's election campaign has once again sought to raise the issue with a second ad touting her support for efforts to preserve access to abortion in New York.
Opponents of abortion contend laws won't change in Democratic-heavy New York if and when Roe is overturned, but have wanted to shift the conversation to ways in which women and families can be helped without turning to abortion services.
The focus in the coming weeks on the issue comes as the campaign season is also shifting into gear: A June 28 primary for statewide and Assembly races is approaching; congressional and state Senate primary contests will be held on Aug. 23.
The organization Eleanor's Legacy, which backs Democratic women who support abortion rights, held a virtual training session on Monday to move the issue forward.
“The draft SCOTUS decision is a travesty, but there is one thing we, as New Yorkers can do to protect abortion seekers: make New York an abortion sanctuary for people throughout the country," said Sophie Nir, the group's executive director. "Today, we took the first step in preparing ourselves for the long road ahead. We were thrilled to have so many fearless women join us to learn from experts how to fight for abortion rights and fill the gaps created by the tragic overturning of Roe v Wade. We are now armed with knowledge and ready to effectively advocate for abortion."
The group's event came as Hochul's campaign released a second ad on the abortion issue, criticizing Republican candidates for opposing abortion rights. Hochul faces a primary vote this month for the Democratic nomination.
State lawmakers in the Democratic-led state Legislature this month finalized measures that are meant to bolster legal protections for abortion service providers and women seeking abortions in New York who travel from states where the procedure is expected to be outlawed.
But the first passage of an amendment meant to enshrine abortion rights in the state's constitution has faltered over disagreements surrounding how broadly to set down equality protections. The New York Civil Liberties Union and other advocates are calling for a special session to finish the bill.
Abortion opponents, meanwhile, contend New York's strong abortion laws aren't changing.
Nevertheless, the New York State Catholic Conference decried the use of state money to strengthen and expand facilities that provide abortion services as well as boost security at those locations ahead of a potential Supreme Court ruling.
After the draft of the ruling was first made public in May, the social conservative group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms signaled it was cautiously optimistic the court would rule their way.
“In New York, we have certainly seen abortion extremism on display. We expect that Planned Parenthood’s political allies, like Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Democratic Majorities, will double down on their defense of even late-term abortions," said Jason McGuire, the group's executive director. "But, people of faith have prayed, volunteered at pregnancy centers, and turned out the pro-life vote during countless elections in an effort to help this nation see that we don’t have to choose between an unborn baby and her mother. We can love and support them both. We’re not about to stop now."