New York becoming ‘haven’ for abortion tourism as other states pass pro-life laws
July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A notorious New York abortion facility is reporting a rise in out-of-state women seeking the procedure there, attributing the increase to gains in pro-life legislation – and the City Council of New York is willing to help foot the bill for women to come to the Empire State for abortion.
There have been 26 abortion bans signed so far this year across 12 American states, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. As a result, The Guardian reports, leadership at Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica, Queens, says the abortion facility has already seen a marked rise in women coming to through its doors for abortions from some of the affected states and others.
The Queens abortion facility has experienced a significant increase in recent months of women from states such as Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Georgia, the report said. Pennsylvania has not enacted pro-life laws this year. Choices also said it’s had two women from Bermuda come in for abortions.
Before the recent wave of pro-life laws, the abortion center had gotten four or five out-of-state women coming for abortions per week, but now the figure is seven to nine.
New York City Council to fund $250k worth of abortions
The Guardian reports on New York’s increase in out-of-state abortion traffic against a pro-abortion backdrop, its headline calling New York “a haven.”
The article itself states: “It (‘the right to an abortion’) remains intact for now, despite recent state efforts to restrict access, but obtaining and paying for an abortion has never been easy. Women face a shortage of clinics, tight restrictions on the way they are operated, high costs and fierce anti-abortion campaigns.”
The numbers in the article indicating an increase in women coming from other states to New York to get an abortion came from Merle Hoffman, president and founder of the Choices abortion facility.
Hoffman, dubbed the “millionaire abortionist” by Forbes in 2011, said the pro-life laws getting passed in other states would affect the poor and women of color the most.
“It will increase as the restrictions really start to hold,” she said. “Now of course there’s appeals going on, so that can stop it for a while, but the general movement to restrict women’s freedom, autonomy, moral agency and access is really out there.”
Hoffman has been conducting abortions there since 1971, two years before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in all 50 states.
Her for-profit Choices Women’s Medical Center sees an estimated 50,000 clients each year and in 2016 it reportedly made $10 million in revenue.
The Guardian article said that sometimes Hoffman funds patients’ abortions herself.
Hoffman’s abortion center is partnering with various organizations to procure funding for women traveling from out of state to come there for an abortion, including travel, accommodations, and the cost of the procedure.
One of the organizations is the New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF), to which the New York City Council recently pledged $250,000 to help poor women travel to the state for abortions.
City officials said the money, to be included in the budget being negotiated between the Council and the mayor’s office, would allow about 500 women to abort their children, the New York Times reports.
Last year a third of the women the NYAAF helped to fund their abortions were from outside the state, The Guardian report said, and NYAAF has said the funding will help accommodate the increase in numbers of out-of-state women it expects to experience.
“Before Roe v. Wade, New York City was a haven for women who wanted control over their own bodies and their health decisions,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, co-chair of the Women’s Caucus at New York City Council. “It’s time for our city to be that beacon for the country once again.”
It’s believed this will be the first time for a city to directly allocate funds for abortion.
“There haven’t been that many city and state public officials to say we should publicly fund abortions,” said Aziza Ahmed, law professor at Northeastern University in Boston. “It’s a big statement. This is a culture war to some degree.”
Extreme pro-abortion laws, protective pro-life laws being enacted in different states
New York passed what was considered the most radical abortion expansion in the country on the January 22 anniversary of Roe v. Wade this year – legalizing abortion up to birth, allowing non-doctors to commit abortions, and repealing the state’s recognition of preborn babies older than 24 weeks as potential homicide victims.
Illinois passed its extreme abortion expansion in June, which went out of the way to repeal the state’s ban on partial-birth abortion, and also rescinded protections against taxpayer funding of abortion and protections for infants born after failed abortions.
Alabama passed a near-total ban on abortion in May. Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio have passed bills protecting babies with detectable heartbeats from being aborted. An unborn baby’s heartbeat can usually be detected around six weeks.
Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Utah banned abortion based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Kentucky and Missouri banned abortion based on the race or predicted sex of the baby, with Kentucky banning abortion for a diagnosis of a genetic anomaly.
Most of the legislation has faced legal challenges.
Hoffman: Pro-lifers are like the ‘American Taliban’
Hoffman is no stranger to culture wars and neither is her Choices abortion center new to the battle.
Hoffman testified in federal court last year that pro-life sidewalk counselors outside her abortion facility were like the “American Taliban,” and what she saw looking outside was “a type of terrorism.”
Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman brought People v. Griepp et al in June 2017, alleging harassment by 14 pro-life supporters who demonstrated outside Choices. Attorneys from the Thomas More Society representing the pro-lifers argued the charges were not supported by evidence.
Schneiderman’s star witness, the head of the abortion escort program at Choices, ended up admitting in court that that her testimony against the sidewalk counselors was not true.
And it was also revealed in testimony from one of Schneiderman’s witnesses that his office was complicit in fraudulent activity to spy on and entrap pro-life sidewalk counselors named in the suit.
Schneiderman resigned in May of last year hours after reports surfaced that four women were accusing him of abuse.
When attorneys had inferred in court that Hoffman was using the government to fight a case that would benefit her abortion facility, she retorted, “Justice costs money.”
The Thomas More Center also recounted how Hoffman appeared visibly irritated through much of her testimony, loudly sighing and tapping her fingernails on the witness stand, as had been reported in separate media coverage.
A federal judge in New York threw Schneiderman’s lawsuit out in July 2018.
Hoffman told The Guardian the current increase in women coming to New York for abortions reminds her of the time before Roe v. Wade, when women came to the state from around the country for abortions.
“[In] 1970 there were about five different states that decriminalized abortion, New York was one of them,” she said. “So what happened between '70 and '73, thousands and thousands of women were coming into New York … it’s really a repeat of those days.”
Hoffman keeps a giant coat hanger in her office that she took to a pro-abortion protest at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan in 1989. She was photographed for The Guardian piece wielding the hanger while smiling.