The Woman Who Helped Champion New York's Reproductive Health Act Explains Why It's Running Out of Time

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With two weeks left in the New York state senate’s legislative session, abortion advocates are pressuring lawmakers to bring a vote on the Reproductive Health Act, a bill that would reform a draconian New York law that currently forces women to bring nonviable pregnancies to term.

Following up on Jezebel’s “Interview With a Woman Who Recently Had an Abortion at 32 Weeks,” we talked to its subject Erika Christensen about how New York’s law forced her to seek a late-term abortion out-of-state last year, and spoke with to New York State Senator Liz Krueger about the reform bill that would make the state law consistent with Roe v. Wade.


“You’re made to feel like a criminal,” Christensen told us. “Our law is literally in the penal code.” Despite the outpouring of support she’s received after going public with her story, however, Christensen is not optimistic that the RHA will pass into law this year because New Yorkers aren’t pressuring their legislators for change. “I guess what we want to do now is to figure out how to get people actually engaged, to make that extra leap to do something as small as pick up a phone and make a phone call,” she said.

The state of reproductive rights in New York and around the country are bleak, but Krueger sees a reason to be hopeful. Noting that so far in 2017, legislators have introduced 118 proactive abortion right bills in more than 30 states, Krueger says that state lawmakers are “waking up” and realizing that they “have to be far more aggressive at pushing back using the powers we have at the state level to protect our citizens.”


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Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is a senior reporter at Jezebel.

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