Hochul releases digital campaign ads on protecting abortion rights

Gov. Kathy Hochul participates in a Planned Parenthood rally outside the State Capitol in Albany. Tuesday, May 3, 2022.
Photo courtesy of Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

Following the explosive leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade earlier this week, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s gubernatorial campaign Wednesday released a pair of short digital ads where she pledged to continue protecting women’s right to abortion in New York.

“I will always protect reproductive rights and keep abortion access safe in New York,” Hochul says in one of the ads titled “Always Protect.”

In the other ad – “Strength” – Hochul reflected on growing up around “strong women” and founding a transitional home for survivors of domestic violence.

“I grew up around strong women who taught me that strength comes from helping others,” Hochul says. “Together we started a transitional home for domestic violence survivors. Now I’m protecting abortion access because I’ll always stand up for New York women.”

The leaked Supreme Court draft majority opinion, that would eliminate the federal constitutional right to abortion established in 1973 under Roe v. Wade, was first revealed Monday night in an explosive report from Politico. Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the majority opinion, wrote that Roe was “egregiously wrong from the start.”

If the decision goes through, it will be left up to individual states to determine if abortion is legal within their borders. Abortion will continue to be a protected right in New York, as former Gov. Andrew Cuomo codified Roe into law through the Reproductive Health Act in 2019.

The campaign ads followed Hochul’s commitment in her current role as governor, during an unrelated press conference to announce U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado (D – Mid-Hudson) as her new pick for Lieutenant Governor Tuesday, to help the influx of people coming to New York for abortions from states where it’s no longer legal.

“My promise is that here in the state of New York, we will not stand idly by. Anyone who needs care, we welcome you with open arms,” Hochul said. “And remember that we legalized abortion here in the state of New York, three years before Roe v. Wade. We were there for women in need at the time and will be there for them now. Because we believe that access to reproductive health is a human right. And my administration will do whatever it can to protect that right.”

To that end, Hochul said, the state budget passed last month made it a legal requirement that health plans in New York cover abortions. 

Plus, Hochul said her administration is acting now in anticipation of whatever the Supreme Court decides. This includes directing the state Department of Health to work with experts and advocates to make telemedicine abortion is available in the state, offer guidance to providers and give patients information about their right to abortion.

“Let me be clear, we’re not playing defense, we’re playing offense,” the governor said. “So my message to women all across this country is that the state of New York will always be there for anyone who needs reproductive health care, including an abortion. And my message to those who will deny this fundamental basic right: you don’t want to mess with us. You don’t want to mess with the state of New York. And I assure you, this is a fight that you will not win.”