The complaint, filed in October, says that the Legislature can only adopt a proposed amendment after it has received an opinion from the state attorney general. It further alleges that the Legislature voted on and adopted the amendment on July 1, 2022, prior to its receipt of the attorney general’s opinion.
Byrnes is arguing in the suit that because of the amendment’s illegal adoption, it cannot be put on the 2024 ballot.
New York abortion law
New York law currently allows abortions up to nine months in cases where “there is an absence of fetal viability or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” According to the New York attorney general’s website, abortion up to nine months is also legal if one’s “mental health” is at “risk” as well.
In cases that don’t meet these requirements, the limit for abortion is through the 24th week of pregnancy (almost six months), when the fetus can sneeze and react to loud noises, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute. At the 24th week, the unborn child’s brain is quickly growing, with taste buds forming and lungs further developing, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
If the child were to be born at the 24th week, it could survive outside the womb, often referred to as viability, according to England’s National Health Service.
There is no parental notification law for girls under the age of 18 who want an abortion.
Several Democrats, pro-abortion groups, and LGBT activist organizations have banded together in a coalition called New Yorkers for Equal Rights to launch a more than $20 million campaign aimed at passing the ballot initiative, according to a memo published by Politico.
Organizations included in the coalition are Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, North Star, New York Immigration Coalition, New York Civil Liberties Union, New Pride Agenda, National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund, NAACP New York, Make the Road New York, and 1199 SEIU.
Leading New York Democrats — including Gov. Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries — are also involved in the coalition, Axios reported.
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The coalition says it plans to focus on independents, moderates, liberals, women, and “voters of color,” specifically focusing on a list of swing districts.
“In particular, New Yorkers for Equal Rights will focus outreach and spending on motivating ideologically moderate, AAPI, and younger voters in these areas and persuading independent women, younger Black voters, and older Latino voters,” the memo said.
New Yorkers on abortion
With its extreme abortion laws, New York has gained a reputation for being a left-leaning state and an “abortion safe haven.” The last time the blue state voted for a pro-life presidential candidate was in 1984 for Republican President Ronald Reagan.
But out-of-staters might be surprised to know that gubernatorial Republican candidate Lee Zeldin, who was aggressively painted by Democrats and left-leaning media as an enemy of abortion rights and who gained a top rating from pro-life experts during his time in Congress, only lost the 2022 governor’s race by about six percentage points.
New York’s counties overwhelmingly voted Republican in that race, with an aggressively pro-abortion Hochul mostly winning the counties surrounding the state’s larger cities.