New York State Bar Association Votes To Make Passage of a Federal Right to an Abortion Bill a Legislative Priority & Support NY Equal Rights Amendment
The New York State Bar Association voted Saturday to support a federal right to an abortion and said it would lobby for Congressional passage of a law prohibiting restrictions on a woman’s right to choose to end a pregnancy.
“I am deeply concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is denying women their right to be equal citizens and their right to privacy and liberty under the 14th Amendment,” said Sherry Levin Wallach, president of the New York State Bar Association. “Before Dobbs, every time the U.S. Supreme Court overturned precedent, it was to expand individual rights. The idea that the Court would take away rights that were fundamental to the lives of women since 1973 is truly disturbing.”
Since the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs on June 24 that there was no federal right to an abortion, ten states banned almost all abortions, four states eliminated the ability of women to obtain abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy, and three states with abortion bans enacted harsher punishments for those who violate the law, according to a report prepared by the association’s Women in Law Section.
“As lawyers we are sworn to uphold the law,” the report said. “As leaders of the state bar, we are duty bound to raise our voices and advocate when individuals, including our members, are not treated equally under the law.”
In adopting the report, the association’s House of Delegates, its governing body, also pledged to support passage of an Equal Rights Amendment to the New York State Constitution. The amendment would prohibit discrimination based on gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, national origin, and pregnancy. It was approved by the state Legislature in June but must be passed again by a separately elected Legislature, whose members take office in January of 2023, and also by the voters in a subsequent public referendum.
“It’s hard to believe that New York State’s Constitution doesn’t already prohibit such discrimination,” Levin Wallach said. “It’s about time that we unequivocally declare that discrimination against all people by the government violates not only our laws but also the ideals we hold so dear in New York.”