The New York State Catholic Conference slammed Gov. Kathy Hochul after she announced on May 10 that she was redirecting $35 million in state funds to support access and expand the capacity of abortion clinics in the state. 

“Governor Hochul’s announcement that she is going to immediately redirect $35 million in taxpayer dollars to enable abortion clinics to expand their capacity to perform even more abortions is a grave misuse of state resources and an insult to millions of pro-life New Yorkers,” said Dennis Poust, executive director of the conference, which represents that state’s bishops on public policy matters. “Inviting women from out of state to come here to abort their unborn children is a breathtaking reminder of how far our culture has fallen.”

States with unfettered access to abortion, such as California and New York, have been calling for even greater access and resources after Politico leaked a draft opinion on May 2 that signaled that the majority of Supreme Court justices seem set to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision legalizing abortion. Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of the draft and has called for an investigation into the leak. The California Catholic Conference said in a May 3 statement that the leak of the opinion draft "triggered the governor and California legislative leadership to announce its intent to create a California constitutional amendment to protect the right to abortion. This will destroy lives, families and significantly limit the ability of the Catholic Church in California to protect the unborn."

In her announcement, Hochul directed the Department of Health to create a $25 million Abortion Provider Support Fund to expand abortion “access” and “capacity” for anyone seeking an abortion in New York. 

"New York has always been at the forefront of the fight for abortion rights, and as the first female Governor of New York, I will not let us go backwards," Hochul said in a press release. "I will never stop fighting to make New York a safe harbor for all who need care and a blueprint for other states to follow. 

“To truly guarantee that everyone who needs an abortion can get one in New York State, we must ensure that providers have the resources, capacity and protections they need. This landmark funding will get resources into the hands of clinics who need our help -- safeguarding access to abortion in our state and setting an example for the rest of the nation to follow.”    

The remaining $10 million, through grants from the Division of Criminal Justice Services, ramps up safety at clinics.   

"We must ask again, when will New York lawmakers begin to dedicate even a fraction of their rhetoric and policies to supporting women who want and need the resources to keep their babies?” Poust said. “In this month of Mary, the Bishops of New York State urge all Catholic New Yorkers to pray through her intercession for a change of heart for all elected officials, particularly those who profess the Catholic faith, and for a building up of a Culture of Life in our state."

Hochul’s announcement comes one day after New York Attorney General Letitia James backed the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program, legislation that would provide even more money - published reports say $50 million annually - for abortion clinics in the state.  

The Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program, introduced by State Senator Cordell Cleare and Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas and under the New York Department of Health, would, most notably: 

Provide funding to abortion providers and non-profit organizations to grow the capacity of providers.

Provide funding for uncompensated abortion care. 

Provide funding to non-profit organizations to support to individuals that travel to New York for abortions. 

Prohibit the state from tracking of patients.

Kristen E. Curran, director of government relations for the New York State Catholic Conference, called the program “appalling.”

“New York is the undisputed abortion capital of the country, where virtually no New Yorker has to pay for an abortion,” Curran said. “Abortion coverage is mandated in all commercial insurance plans without any copays, and New York is one of the few states to use state taxpayer funds through Medicaid to provide full coverage for abortions.

“Now some officials want to make abortion a tourism industry, like Broadway or Niagara Falls, for out-of-state residents. This is appalling. We believe the state should focus on its own residents and making New York a more welcoming culture for women in crisis pregnancies who would choose to keep their babies if only they had the supports and resources they deserve."