ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — New York State Attorney General Letitia James and other lawmakers today announced new legislation to establish a state program that would give financial resources to abortion providers, if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the US Supreme Court, and abortion rights return to individual states.

James said the legislation has low-income New Yorkers in mind, and would also help those coming into the state seeking treatment.

The bill is called the ‘Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program’, and would give funds to medical facilities and non-profits to increase access to care. The Attorney General said abortion is healthcare, and much of this comes down to safety. 

James says the vast majority of Americans believe in the right to choose. Her office says if Roe is overturned, it’s estimated 32,000 procedures per year could be performed with patients coming here from out of state.

James says New York must lead the fight to keep abortion safe and accessible. The legislation establishes funding that the Department of Health will oversee — she says it will not go to individuals. She feels in other areas of the nation, if some states make abortions illegal, women will go out and seek treatment that is unreliable.

“And that’s why it’s really critically important that we support young ladies not only here in New York, but all across this country, particularly at a time when we recognize and we understand that a ban will not stop abortions— a ban will only stop safe abortions,” James said. “And we’re here to provide safe abortions. We don’t want to go backward.”

“In my daily work, I see the way abortion improves the lives of all the pregnant patients we take care of, if they choose to pursue that path,” said gynecologist Dr. Jessica Atrio. “It’s essential healthcare; it empowers my patients to chart their own life course.”

The Conservative Party of New York State put out a statement Monday, saying Gov. Hochul and AG James want to make New York a destination for abortion procedures — funded solely by state taxpayers.

“The governor and attorney general have no right to force New Yorkers to pay for abortions for non-New Yorkers. New Yorkers, who already pay the highest taxes in the country, need to fight it,” Conservative Party Chairman Gerard Kassar said.

James said there are already 22 states that have laws that would allow them to ban abortions right away if ‘Roe’ is overturned or weakened.