The Westchester County Board of Legislators has voted to approve a law ensuring safe access to reproductive health care facilities. The measure passed by a 15-2 vote. Westchester County Executive George Latimer signed the act into law immediately after its approval by the Board.
The new law, which takes effect immediately, will protect health care workers and patients seeking medical treatment from being obstructed from entering or exiting a reproductive health care facility and from harassing behavior from persons within specific distances of the premises. It enacts a 25-foot no-harassment zone around the facility’s perimeter and establishes the designation of an 8-foot personal space bubble surrounding the person within 100 feet of the facility.
“As the nation reels from the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the need to codify stronger anti-harassment legislation for reproductive health patients, providers, and staff while preserving the free speech of legitimate protestors is more critical now than ever,” says the County Legislators’ release.
The decision will likely result in an increase of out-of-state residents seeking reproductive health care and, conversely, an increase in anti-choice protesting.
Chairwoman Catherine Borgia (D – Cortlandt, Croton on Hudson, Ossining, Briarcliff Manor, Peekskill), one of the original sponsors said, “Women will be looking to New York for sanctuary to reclaim their bodily autonomy, and we want to say Westchester is ready. Any person who travels to our County seeking reproductive care can access it safely without intimidation or provocation.”
County Executive George Latimer said, “We want to protect the women who need these services from aggressive advocacy that exceeds free speech and becomes intimidation and interference with their personal safety.”
Read the legislation at: https://bit.ly/3bjScYb