The state of New York is not taking the U.S. Supreme Court extremists’ regressive rulings lying down, and they’re providing a good template for national Democrats in taking strong, bold action on both abortion rights and guns.


Gov. Kathy Hochul issued that proclamation Thursday ahead of a special session of the state legislature in which lawmakers will consider legislation that will enshrine abortion rights and gender expression rights in a proposed state constitutional amendment. It would include a ban on discrimination based on “pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive health care and autonomy” in the state constitution’s Equal Protection Amendment.

The current amendment prohibits discrimination based on “race, color, creed or religion.” This expansion will add “ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression” to protected classes. Amending the constitution isn’t easy, requiring that two sessions of the Legislature—separately elected—pass the amendment. Meaning if it passes in this special session, it would have to be passed again next year, and would also have be passed by voters as a ballot referendum.

The Legislature is also responding to the Court’s striking down of the state’s 108-year-old rules restricting who could get concealed carry permits to people who had “proper cause.” The state might not be able to restrict who can get those permits, but they can (for now) restrict where those guns can be carried. Lawmakers are considering legislation “sensitive locations” where guns can be prohibited that will be expanded to include “the subway, trains, buses, and ferries, as well as government buildings, houses of worship, schools, libraries, public playgrounds, public parks, zoos, homeless shelters, and polling places.”

“Recent Supreme Court rulings have threatened the rights of New Yorkers to make decisions about their own bodies and our right to protect New Yorkers from gun violence, but we refuse to stand idly by, and we must act,” Hochul said in announcing the measures. “I thank Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie for working through the day and night on these bold actions in response to these reckless Supreme Court decisions.”

“We will enact legislation to strengthen our laws on concealed carry weapons, and building on our nation-leading protections for abortion patients and providers, New York State will take an unprecedented step toward enshrining the fundamental right to abortion access into our State Constitution,” she continued. “Let me be clear: We will do everything in our power to protect New Yorkers.”


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