2006_1_abortion1.gifOn Sundays, Gothamist prints opinion pieces related to life in New York. If you want to submit one, email us! The opinions expressed below belong to the author, not to our site.

With Sam Alito set to be confirmed to the Supreme Court this week, lots of Americans are thinking about abortion-- namely, the strong likelyhood that Roe v. Wade could be overturned in the next few years. That would make getting an abortion in many states impossible (not that it's easy now, with all the restrictions Republican-controlled legislatures have recently passed.) Thank God, then, that New York has a long pro-choice tradition, and abortion will be legal here until the Republican storm-troopers pry the foreceps our of our cold, dead hands. The Daily News has a good article today with some NYC abortion facts:

For every 100 babies born in New York City, women had 74 abortions in 2004, according to newly released figures that reaffirm the city as the abortion capital of the country.

And abortions for out-of-town women performed in the city increased from 57 to 70 out of every 1,000 between 1996 and 2004, a subtle yet noticeable trend that experts say may reflect growing hurdles against the procedure in more conservative parts of the country.

The new Vital Statistics report released by the city Department of Health this month shows there were 124,100 live births, 11,700 spontaneous abortions and 91,700 induced abortions in the city in 2004.

That means 40 out of 100 pregnancies in the city ended in a planned abortion - almost double the national average of 24 of 100 pregnancies in 2002, estimated by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a Manhattan-based nonprofit group that researches reproductive health issues.

New York already provides a shelter for many American women who can't get an abortion in their home state. If Alito and his cronies manage to outlaw a woman's right to choose, New York should seize the opportunity. We should triple the number of abortion clinics here. Hotels should offer weekend packages-- get an abortion, see a Broadway show. Planned Parenthood should offer free taxi service from the airport to anyone with a postive pregnancy test. You get the idea! It's a win-win situation: women will get access to the quality reproductive health-care they deserve, and the New York tourism industry will laugh all the way to the bank-- after all, if there's anything our city loves more than giving legal abortions, it's the sweet smell of cash! [Related: if you have some extra cash, and want to donate to a very worthy cause, consider Planned Parenthood's NYC division.]

Jake Dobkin is the publisher of Gothamist. He thinks that without reproductive freedom, women are not much better off than slaves.