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Westchester County passes legislation allowing women safe access to abortion, free of protesters

Westchester County passes legislation allowing women safe access to abortion
Westchester County passes legislation allowing women safe access to abortion 02:25

NEW YORK -- The Empire State is preparing for an influx of women seeking abortions.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, lawmakers in Westchester County say they want to make sure women have safe access, free from protesters.

The Reproductive Health Care Facilities Access Act passed the county Board of Legislators 15-2 on Monday night.

"Whether you're pro-life or pro-choice, a person, a woman, or staff person has the right to walk freely to and from a health care facility," Democratic Legislator Jewel Williams Johnson said.

"Eleven years ago, this law didn't get passed for a reason, and it still is wrong today, not because of medical reasons but cancelling someone's freedom of speech," Republican Legislator James Nolan said.  

Sponsors say it works hand in hand with state law and makes it illegal to physically prevent or intimidate someone from seeking medical services and that protests must be kept 25 feet away from any women's health care facility.

"It will not prevent protesters from protesting in those places. That is not the intent of the law. Rather, it would only prevent those persons seeking to engage in those activities from harming, harassing or obstructing access," Democratic Legislator Colin Smith said.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said there are other ways our area is getting ready for a possible influx of patients.

"They've been preparing on how do we build the infrastructure so we're here for those women who come into the city for looking for services," Adams said.

On Friday, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court left it to states to decide whether to allow abortion.

More than a dozen have so-called "trigger laws" in place to restrict or ban abortions once Roe v. Wade was overturned. Much of Monday's court activity focused on these.

READ MOREFocus shifts to "trigger laws" and state courts in wake of Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade   

Mississippi, the state at the heart of the case that led to the Supreme Court's ruling that struck down Roe, certified its trigger law Monday, banning nearly all abortions in 10 days.

But judges in Louisiana and Utah temporarily blocked abortion bans Monday.

More than a handful of states, including New York, are investigating acts of vandalism. It has been mostly graffiti with the same alleged threat: "If abortion isn't safe ... neither are you."

At an Upper West Side Catholic church, that was spray-painted on a door and quickly cleaned up.

There has also been an increase in demand for over-the-counter emergency contraceptive pills. It has forced retailers like Walmart and CVS to limit purchases.

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