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ITHACA, NY -- City officials are discussing an ordinance that would reaffirm its stance on the protection of reproductive rights. City Administration Chair Robert Cantelmo introduced the ordinance at the May 25 committee meeting as an amendment to the city’s “Human Rights Protection” section of the municipal code. The ordinance would add Article VII “Protection of Reproductive Rights.”

The legislation would prohibit city resources and city property from being used for detaining people for performing or aiding in the performance of abortion within this state or in procuring an abortion in this state, or cooperating with or providing information to any individual or out-of-state agency or department regarding the provision of a lawful abortion.

Alderperson George McGonigal asked if such a law would be required in New York state, where abortion is legalized under more than just Roe v Wade, which is currently under threat of being overturned nationally. However, City Attorney Ari Lavine said in other states that would seek to criminalize abortion those criminal proceedings could seek information from other states.

Cantelmo added that the intent of the legislation is to “maintain a commitement to a right that has existed to an entire country for longer than I’ve been alive.”

“In the same way this city has declared itself a Sanctuary City, I’d like to envision us as being clear that we’re a community that believes in reproductive freedom and the right of an individual to have autonomy of their own body,” he said.

The State Legislature is currently considering the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program Act, which establishes the reproductive freedom and equity program to ensure access to abortion care in the state by providing funding to abortion providers and non-profit organizations whose primary function is to facilitate access to abortion care.

However, both Cantelmo and Alderperson Jorge Defendini said they’d rather not wait for the state.

“I don’t want it to be left to the devices of those folks,” Defendini said. “I would like to take a more proactive role in that.”

McGonigal said he wholeheartedly agrees with the intent of the legislation, but said the language is complicated and he’d like more time to examine it.

“I don’t want to be pilloried as opposed to this, I just want to study it more,” he said.

The group had considered changing the discussion item to a vote so they could send it to full Council, but ultimately decided to take the month to study it further before voting on it in June meeting.

(2) comments

Nancy Raza

With the current fear of being “cancelled”, many women wish to speak out against the disposal of a human being in its infancy. However, I have lived too many minutes, hours, days and years to hold back any longer, especially to know the city I reside in’s purpose is to be a safe haven for this very purpose. My desire for every female with a living mother is for her to ask her how many brothers and sisters she may have had in her life to love and enjoy had it not been for her Convenience of an Abortion. Let that soak in, and thank God it wasn’t you!

Nancy Kane

This is good news. Abortions need to be safe, legal, and accessible. Women have the right to control their reproduction and their futures.

Welcome to the discussion.

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