At least two municipalities in Nassau have moved to scrap the abortion restrictions of the early 1970s after local elections called for a review of “antiquated” laws left over from an earlier, equally volatile era in US history.
New York State Senator Anna M. Kaplan and Rep. Gina L. Sillitti announced Sept. 8 that, based on a review of local municipal statutes, abortion-restricting laws are still in place in several parts of Nassau County, which could restrict families’ access to abortion treatment should New York State’s stance on abortion change in the future. The announcement followed a series of impassioned town meetings in the town of North Hempstead that culminated in the repeal of such a law.
The five communities identified by Kaplan and Sillitti’s teams included the town of Hempstead, the town of Oyster Bay, the town of Huntington, the village of Freeport and the village of Williston Park.
TRAP Laws, Trigger Laws and 2022
On Friday, June 24, the US Supreme Court delivered a landmark ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organizationserving to override both Roe v. calf and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, two previous federal decisions that protected the right to terminate a pregnancy, also known as an abortion. Since then, state and local legislators have largely rushed to either prevent or protect abortion restrictions, many of which are considered “trigger laws” (i.e., state or local laws, whether longstanding or recent, that come into effect when they are no longer be replaced by). federal law) and often with so-called TRAP laws.
The laws in question in Nassau County municipalities are both TRAP laws and trigger laws by all common definitions.
According to PlannedParenthoodAction.org, “Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws are costly, stringent, and medically unnecessary requirements imposed on abortion providers and women’s health centers. The true goal of TRAP legislation, often pushed by anti-abortionists under the guise of “women’s health,” is to shut down abortion providers and make it harder for people to access abortion.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, “While all abortion regulations apply to abortion clinics, some go so far as to also apply to doctors’ offices that perform abortions, or even to facilities that perform only medical abortions. Most requirements apply state standards for outpatient surgical centers to abortion clinics, although surgical centers tend to offer more invasive and risky procedures and use higher levels of sedation… [and they] often contain facility requirements such as room size and corridor width that go beyond what is necessary to ensure patient safety in an emergency.”
As Bloomberg Law reported in August: “Anti-abortion advocates who have tried unsuccessfully to require doctors performing abortions to have access to local hospitals are reviving these old laws just in case there is a future departure from the most recent.” Dobbs decision there.”
Based on Google searches this summer, there are currently two independent inpatient abortion providers in Nassau County, fewer than the number of “crisis pregnancy centers” that actively try to discourage patients from having an abortion, but often show up in the same types of search results; When you include the hospitals that are (not least) legally required to provide emergency abortion services, the numbers are about the same.
Six parishes in Nassau had surviving statutes; two were rescinded
The town of North Hempstead recently voted unanimously to dezon the adjoining rule. On September 1, the North Hempstead City Board of Trustees repealed Chapter 41-A of the City Bylaws entitled “Pregnancy Termination Facilities”; Enacted in 1971, a year after the state legalized abortion, the law regulated “abortion facilities” and mandated that they be affiliated with hospitals.
Almost two and a half hours were devoted to Chapter 41-A at the September 1 public hearing and board discussion. Discussion of repealing the law, sponsored by Councilman Veronica Lurvey, took up a large portion of the Aug. 4 city board meeting.
Ahead of the public comment at the September 1 meeting, Lurvey stated: All local laws regarding abortion must be carefully considered. Often laws that appear reasonable at first glance are in fact made with an ulterior motive, particularly laws made in the early 1970s, as was the case with this one. The law makes performing an abortion illegal, whether performed medically with prescribed drugs or otherwise, unless it is performed in a hospital or facility administered by a hospital or facility that has a hospital affiliation agreement. The law is outdated and does not take into account the availability of medical abortions. Due to advances in the field of medicine, a woman can now take medication prescribed by a doctor in the privacy of her own home. Chapter 41-A is not only antiquated, it places an undue burden on a woman who may wish to terminate her pregnancy and on the healthcare professional performing the procedure.
Lurvey added: I would like to take a moment to clarify a few points. Repeal of 41-A is not a zone change. As we’ve heard before, doctors’ offices or clinics that offer abortion procedures aren’t going to pop up in every residential area. The repeal of 41-A will also not result in the city funding abortions. These are just a few things that got through via email. Confusion reigns because we are in a post-Roe world after decades of certainty about abortion restrictions. We now have uncertainty. A vulnerable woman faced with a difficult decision should not have to conduct a legal analysis to determine which laws apply to her and which do not. The City Council does not have the right to enter a woman’s treatment room or medicine cabinet and interfere in these kinds of decisions. The city should have no say and should not unduly burden women’s right to vote.
North Hempstead City Councilor Peter Zuckerman later said in a statement: “North Hempstead recently took an important step to further protect abortion rights in our city. We call on elected leaders across Long Island to follow in our footsteps.”
The City of Oyster Bay was alongside the repeal, but more cautious about the law itself. A City of Oyster Bay official commented on September 13, “The decades-old city ordinance was outdated, unenforceable and had no impact since state statutes passed the 1971s long replaced… To prevent further political games and false flag attempts to scare the public, the City Council has voted to remove this outdated section of the city ordinance, even though it has had no impact on the public for over 50 years.”