Gov. Kathy Hochul has enacted a new abortion law that will protect New York state doctors — and help patients nationwide. (Credit: Marc A. Hermann / MTA, Wikimedia Commons)

Doctors in New York who provide abortion services and assistance to out-of-state patients can now do so without fear of legal repercussions.

Late last week, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed protections for medical providers into law that will block any out-of-state litigation aimed their way. Because of this, doctors in New York can freely offer telehealth services, and both prescribe and send abortion medication to those living in regions of the U.S. where access is limited, if not restricted entirely. 

“We are witnessing a shameful regression of women’s rights in this country as abortion access is restricted in states across the nation,” Hochul said in a press release. “With this bill, New York is continuing to fight back … and help more people access the care they need.”

Medical professionals hailed the new law as historic. “Protecting providers of reproductive healthcare is a critical step to ensuring a continuum of access to care for patients,” Dr. Ann Kurth, president of The New York Academy of Medicine, said.

The law was enacted just prior to the first anniversary of the Dobbs decision that ultimately overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that allowed for abortion access throughout the country for decades. 

The repeal ultimately left an estimated 25 million patients without access to abortion care,, after nearly half the states in the country enacted laws that restricted or outright banned it. In the wake of this, patients have increasingly sought out online services and assistance.

It’s especially pressing because of the life-and-death ramifications that come with restricting access to abortion services and medication. A Texas lawsuit filed earlier this year saw five residents suing the state for damages in light of the severe and dangerous complications they suffered after being unable to abort their own pregnancies. 

Lead plaintiff Amanda Zurawski, who had been pregnant with a daughter, sought an abortion after her water broke at 18 weeks. She was only able to receive one after she came down with sepsis – and wound up spending three days in intensive care, battling for her life.

“My doctor could not intervene as long as [the fetus’] heart was beating or until I was sick enough for the ethics board of the hospital” to provide standard health care, she said at a press conference, per the Associated Press. The infection caused one of her fallopian tubes to close, she added, compromising her ability to have children in the future.

Examples like Zurawski’s spotlight the need for laws like the one newly signed by Hochul. Dr. Linda Prine, a longtime activist and member of the NYS Academy of Family Physicians, homed in on its necessity in the state’s press release: “I am so proud that my home state has stepped up and demonstrated that it has the humanity to counteract the cruelty of the abortion bans across the U.S. with this measure.”