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NYC Moves Toward Becoming First City To Directly Fund Abortions

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The New York City Council will vote this week to create a $250,000 fund that will be used to pay for abortions, with supporters saying the city is trying to target women who live in states where access to abortion is being limited.

The New York Abortion Access Fund will be the recipient of the money, according to City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, The New York Times reported after the budget deal was announced last week.

“This initiative not only makes New York the first city in the nation to directly fund abortion services, but also lets any American who is facing increasing abortion restrictions in their home state know that they can come and get the services they need in the Five Boroughs,” the Manhattan Democrat said in a statement, according to the New York Post.

“This fund is just another signal, another example of how New York State and New York City has to be that leader on this issue. We all are picking up this torch for people who have come before us and we’re not heeding any call to any one person, this is a collective movement,” Rivera said.

Rivera said the fund makes New York City “the beacon for the rest of the country.”

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“We heard the news on the abortion bans across the country,” Rivera said, referencing states like Alabama and Georgia that have passed laws restricting abortion. “Many of us in New York felt helpless. We wanted to do more.”

The new funding was opposed by New York State Right to Life, which posted a statement on its Facebook page.

“NYS taxpayers sadly already pay for abortions through the Medicaid program (something NYSRTL has long sought to change), and indirectly through health insurance premiums (because of governor fiat),” the organization wrote.

“Now the abortion capital of the world NYC may actually use city taxpayer monies for an enticement fund to come terminate your children. NYC citizens call your City Councilmembers to stop this.”

Others also voiced concerns about the new law.

“There haven’t been that many city and state public officials to say we should publicly fund abortions. It’s a big statement,” Aziza Ahmed, a law professor at Northeastern University in Boston, told The Times.

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Should New York City be funding abortions for women who live in other states?

“This is a culture war to some degree.”

The fund has the support of New York City Mayor and 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Bill de Blasio.

“We understand that there are women who need help and are having trouble getting the help they need, and the city had an opportunity here to step up,” he said.

The Times report on the funding estimated that roughly a third of the women who would be supported through the project will come from outside of New York state.

Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice advocacy group, estimated that abortions in New York City cost $500 each. That means the New York City fund will support about 500 abortions, CNN reported.

New York City’s action follows the state’s January adoption of legislation to expand the availability of abortion in New York State.

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