New York abortion laws are less restrictive than those in many other states, which often impose long waiting periods, consent requirements, strict facility codes, and other statutory obstacles. A bill signed into law in early 2019 adds additional protections for abortion access, such as allowing certain medical professionals who aren't doctors to perform the procedure and allowing abortions past 24 weeks if the fetus isn't viable or to protect the mother's health (before the change in the law, this was limited to protecting the mother's life).
The law also codifies a woman's right to access an abortion, partly in anticipation of a possible rollback of federal protections under Roe v. Wade. Per the language of the 2019 law, "Every individual who becomes pregnant has the fundamental right to choose to carry the pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to have an abortion, pursuant to this article." But all states, including New York, have some abortion restrictions.
New York Abortion Laws At a Glance
The table below provides a helpful summary of the basic provisions of New York abortion laws, followed by a more in-depth look.
Note: The previous Section 4164 is repealed.
|Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion||As of Jan. 22, 2019, abortion is no longer in the state's penal code. This means health care providers acting in good faith may not be held criminally liable.|
|Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion||Within the first 24 weeks or after 24 weeks if necessary to preserve the mother's health or if the fetus isn't viable. (PHC Sec. 2500-BB)|
|Penalty for Unlawful Abortion||
New York removed abortion from its Penal Code. No one can be held criminally liable for aborting a fetus, even after the 24th week of pregnancy.
Penal Code Sections 125.40, 125.45, 125.50, 125.55 and 125.60 were all repealed.
|Consent Requirements||Consent of pregnant female|
|Residency Requirements for Patients||Not required|
|Physician Licensing Requirements||
Any health care practitioner that is licensed or authorized under Title Eight of the Education Law (Section 6500, et seq.) may perform an abortion, if it is within the scope of their practice. In addition to M.D.s, this could also include nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and midwives.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Prohibited Abortions in New York
New York doesn't have as many barriers to terminating a pregnancy, like some other states. If you choose to have an abortion, you won't have to get the consent of your partner or your parents if you're 18. As well, there's no "cooling off" period in New York. However, there are a few basic requirements that the Supreme Court of the United States has not invalidated for being too intrusive.
After the First 24 Weeks, With Exceptions
Abortions are illegal if they're performed after the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, unless the fetus isn't viable or the abortion is necessary to protect the mother's health. One of the justifications for this requirement is that it's a balance between the safety of the mother and giving her time to consider an abortion. Arguably, a mother could be able to make the decision to have an abortion within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. After that amount of time, nearly the end of the second trimester, the risk of harm to the mother increases greatly. New York repealed all penal code statutes for aborting a fetus and thus there are no criminal penalties for abortion.
Drugs and Medicine That Cause an Abortion
New York law previously made it illegal to administer or take drugs with the intent to cause a miscarriage, but this section of New York's penal code has been repealed.
Preserving the Mother's Health or Aborting a Non-Viable Fetus
Even outside the 24 week window for an abortion, New York state law allows a mother to get an abortion if terminating the pregnancy is necessary to preserve the mother's health or if the fetus isn't viable.
More Questions About Abortion Laws? Speak with a New York Attorney
If you would like to know more about the laws governing abortion in New York, there are many attorneys in your area who may be able to help. A private family law attorney will be able to discuss the penalties for violating New York's abortion laws and required procedures. Speak with a New York lawyer today to learn more.
Contact a qualified attorney.