New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said Tuesday that the threat to abortion access on the federal level would likely influence the city’s budget negotiations.
Adams, who leads the first ever majority-woman City Council was joined by roughly two dozen of her colleagues at a City Hall rally to decry the the Supreme Court draft opinion obtained by Politico, which indicated the landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade would be overturned by the court’s conservative majority.
“All aspects of this budget are still being negotiated and I'm sure that now this will also have an impact on our negotiations as well,” the speaker told Gothamist following the event.
Adams and her Council colleagues have been pressuring Mayor Eric Adams to add more social service funding into the city budget, though she did not go into detail on any funding implications for women’s health programs. The city spending plan is due on June 30.
Members Tuesday said the city had an obligation to protect vulnerable populations amid a retrenchment in abortion access as well as a threat to other civil liberties.
“The gap between how the healthcare system treats cis-gender women and how it treats trans, gender-queer and non-binary folks will only widen now," said Council Member Tiffany Cabán. “The gap for the disability community, for immigrants and people of color will only widen now.”
Abortion access is codified in New York state law, but a reversal from the nation’s highest court — which has yet to deliver a final outcome — would have stunning implications for low-income women around the country.
Women in states with already limited access to abortions, without the financial means to travel for medical care, may turn to unsafe procedures to terminate pregnancies. Council members Tuesday pointed to the disproportionate impact the end of Roe would have on low-income women of color in states where abortions may be outright banned, should the Supreme Court decide to overturn it.
“Nine people, the majority of whom are male, will have made this decision for millions and millions of women in this country,” Speaker Adams said. “Males who will never know the mental anguish that it takes to make the decision to have an abortion.”
Protests erupted nationwide in the hours following the reported leak. Multiple rallies were scheduled to take place throughout New York City on Tuesday.
It’s unclear what steps the city will take to ensure access to the medical procedure for low-income women of color from other states, should they travel to New York.
Dr. Mitch Katz, head of the city’s public hospital system said NYC Health and Hospitals would continue to provide “safe, legal, accessible abortion services” for all New Yorkers, regardless of ability to pay or immigration status.
Speaker Adams, who said New York would remain a destination for women seeking safe access to abortions, did not offer specifics on what the Council was considering, but said on Tuesday, “We will do our part to ensure that this right is protected.”