How New York, New Jersey, Connecticut protect abortion rights

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it could mean abortions would be banned in about half of U.S. states. However, due to legislation passed on the state level in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut over the past few years, reproductive care would remain fully legal throughout the tri-state region.

"I refuse to go backwards," New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday afternoon. To those who deny pregnant individuals the right to an abortion, Hochul said New York has one message. 

"You don't want to mess with us," Hochul said. "This is a fight that you will not win."

The governor said that for her "it's personal," pointing to her own daughter and — as of this past weekend — her newborn granddaughter.

The same goes for an emotional state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, who fears an inevitable uptick in dangerous so-called back-alley procedures.

"[People] die. They die," she said, fighting back tears. "I don't want that for my kids. I don't want that for my grandkids."

Abortions have been legal in New York ever since legislation was signed into law by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller in 1970 — three years prior to Roe v. Wade — and will remain legal even if the landmark decision is overturned.

"The state of New York will always be there for anyone who needs reproductive healthcare, including an abortion," Hochul said.

That's thanks in part to the 2019 Reproductive Health Act. That law expanded which medical providers can perform abortions and it made the procedure legal up to 24 weeks or even longer if a woman's health is at risk.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed similar legislation this past January.

"While enraging, this news is hardly surprising," Murphy said Tuesday, adding that is was exactly why the state passed legislation protecting abortion rights earlier this year. 

In New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, out-of-state residents can find reproductive care. But the Nutmeg State is about to take it one step further. Lawmakers have sent legislation to the governor's desk that would protect individuals from both in-state and out-of-state legal action.

State Rep. Matt Blumenthal is a sponsor of the legislation. 

"[It is] essentially preventing states like Texas, Missouri, Idaho that have passed bounty-style laws from trying to sue or criminally prosecute individuals who are either here providing this care that's legal here in Connecticut," Blumenthal said, "or seeking it here in Connecticut or assisting in others obtaining it here in Connecticut."