The bill safeguards the rights laid out in Roe v. Wade, including permitting abortions after 24 weeks, though only when a woman’s health is endangered
“Late-term” abortions are generally understood to take place during or after the 21st to 24th week of gestation, which is late in the second trimester. New York state enacted new legal protections for abortion rights by passing a law called the Reproductive Health Act on Jan. 22, 2019, the 46th anniversary of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling. It safeguards the rights laid out in Roe v. Wade, including a benefit permitting abortions when a woman’s health is endangered. This allows a woman to get an abortion after 24 weeks if her health is threatened, not just her life, and if the fetus cannot survive outside the womb. The new law also moves abortion regulations from the state’s criminal code to the health code, thereby removing the threat of criminal prosecution for medical professionals who perform abortions.
Pregnancies typically range from 38 to 42 weeks. After 24 weeks, if a woman needs an abortion, such decisions must be made with a determination that there is an “absence of fetal viability” or that the procedure is “necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” That determination must be made by a “health care practitioner licensed, certified, or authorized” under state law, “acting within his or her lawful scope of practice.” Previously in New York state, abortions after 24 weeks were justified only in cases where the mother’s life was at risk, which goes against what is written in Roe vs Wade.
Hence, this law protects women's reproductive rights by ensuring New Yorkers can make personal healthcare decisions and medical professionals can provide crucial services without fear of a criminal penalty.
US President Donald Trump responded to the law by saying, “New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth.” Late-term abortions must not be confused with abortions taking place when a woman has reached or passed a full-term pregnancy, which is defined as starting in the 37th week. Jenn Conti, an abortion provider in San Francisco, told the Washington Post, "a lot of the confusion comes from the use of the term “late-term” abortions. It’s “intentionally vague,” she said, so even though later abortions typically take place at the end of the second trimester people may believe they are much later in pregnancy." Furthermore, Jen Villavicencio, an obstetrician-gynecologist in the Midwest, told the WaPo, "vast majority of cases in which a woman becomes seriously ill late in pregnancy, doctors are working to save both the woman and the fetus. But in rare situations, it’s clear the fetus will not survive."
We believe the claims implies that Governor Cuomo passed a bill allowing late-term abortion, which could mean 'abortions right before birth.' However, that is misleading, as the bill legalizes abortion after 24 weeks only under extenuating circumstances.