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Changes to N.Y. Abortion Laws Needed To Ensure Women's Safety, Ob-Gyn Argues in Opinion Piece

Changes to N.Y. Abortion Laws Needed To Ensure Women's Safety, Ob-Gyn Argues in Opinion Piece

March 18, 2013 — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) proposal to move the state's abortion regulations "out of the criminal code and into the Public Health Law" is needed to make state law "consistent with federal law and current medical standards," Stephen Chasen -- director of high-risk obstetrics at Weill Cornell Medical College -- writes in a New York Daily News opinion piece.

"Even though federal law requires that a doctor always be able to protect the health of a woman, New York law as written appears to prohibit that unless a woman's life is in danger," Chasen notes, adding, "As a result, doctors often believe incorrectly that they cannot provide the care that a patient needs." While some women can seek care out of state, "women who can't afford to travel are simply out of luck. This is deeply unfair; it hurts real people and their families," Chasen states.

Chasen notes that opponents have wrongly criticized the proposal as a "radical liberal expansion of abortion rights." In fact, the changes would "ensure that if something goes terribly wrong at any point during a woman's pregnancy, she will be able to access the care she needs" in New York, he argues (Chasen, New York Daily News, 3/15).