New York legalizes abortion pill prescription for out-of-state patients

New York legalizes abortion pill prescription for out-of-state patients

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed a bill that would protect doctors who prescribe and send abortion pills to patients living in states where the procedure is illegal. The bill would allow New York abortion providers to serve more out-of-state patients without fear of litigation, which could help expand medication abortion access nationwide.

Medication abortion accounts for about 50% of all abortion procedures in the United States. However, since the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court a year ago, more than a dozen states have implemented near-total abortion bans. Many of these new laws penalize people who assist with an abortion.

Reproductive rights are expected to play a major role in the 2024 election, with both political parties looking to capitalize on the polarizing issue. According to an NBC News poll released earlier this month, over 60% of registered voters disapprove of the Supreme Court’s decision.


The bill specifically aims to protect New York doctors who use telehealth systems. These systems allow doctors to serve patients residing in other states. Similar telehealth abortion laws have already been enacted in Massachusetts, Colorado, Vermont, and Washington.

The measure would prohibit state law enforcement from cooperating with any out-of-state litigation against doctors who use telehealth services to prescribe medication abortion or provide other reproductive healthcare. This bill builds upon similar legislation passed last year, which aimed to protect New York abortion care providers from litigation, but did not specifically address telehealth.


The new law is expected to expand access to medication abortion nationwide. Patients will no longer have to travel to states where the procedure is legal to end their pregnancies.

Governor Hochul said in a press release, “With this bill, New York is continuing to fight back against restrictive abortion laws and help more people access the care they need.”

Legal Battle

The bill comes as conservatives wage an unresolved legal battle over the fate of mifepristone. A group of anti-abortion doctors sued the Food and Drug Administration last November to pull mifepristone from the U.S. market entirely.

In April, Federal Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in the Northern District of Texas ruled in favor of the doctors and suspended the FDA approval of mifepristone. However, the Supreme Court intervened in the case and preserved access to mifepristone as the litigation plays out.

Governor Hochul made it clear that New York would not cooperate with any attempts to penalize doctors who provide reproductive healthcare. “You can continue hell bent down your path on continuing this radical behavior,” she declared. “But we will be just as hell bent on stopping you. This is New York.”

The new law signed by Governor Hochul is expected to expand access to medication abortion nationwide. By protecting doctors who use telehealth systems, more out-of-state patients can be served without fear of litigation. The bill builds upon similar legislation passed last year and is aimed at fighting back against restrictive abortion laws.


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