Reproductive rights

Health Care & Insurance

Free hotline and resources for your questions about reproductive health

New York Attorney General Letitia James has teamed with 24 law firms and eight nonprofits nationwide to provide New York residents and visitors with free (pro-bono) legal information and resources about accessing abortion.

The task force operates a free hotline, 212-899-5567, that provides legal information and referrals to:

  • New Yorkers seeking an abortion
  • patients wanting to travel to New York for an abortion
  • people and organizations providing material support to patients
  • New York health care providers
AG James holding a card about abortion rights

Abortion is legal and protected throughout New York

New York has robust protections in place to ensure that anyone who can get pregnant — including transgender men and nonbinary people — can get an abortion.

In New York, ‬abortion care is basic health care

New York made abortion legal in 1970 – three years before Roe v. Wade. In 2019, New York passed the Reproductive Health Act to protect access to reproductive rights throughout the state and make the right to abortion found in Roe v. Wade part of state law. Even after Roe was overturned in 2022, New York ensures that all pregnant people (including transgender men and nonbinary people) have the right to a safe and legal abortion:

  • You have the right to an abortion up to 24 weeks from the start of pregnancy. After 24 weeks, abortion is legal if the fetus is not viable or if your life or physical or mental health is at risk. If you are younger than 18, you do not have to notify your parents or receive their consent for an abortion or other reproductive-health services.
  • Health care providers generally cannot share medical records or information about your appointments or procedures with your partner, parents, guardians, or anyone else without your permission.
  • Your employer cannot access personal information about your or your partner’s reproductive-health decision making. Your employer, or an employer considering you for a job, cannot discriminate against you based on your reproductive-health decision making.
  • It is illegal for anyone to use force or threats to injure, intimidate, or interfere with you because you are seeking reproductive-health services.
  • New York provides public funding for abortion and requires state-regulated private insurers to cover “medically necessary” abortion care. Starting January 1, 2023, every private insurance plan that offers maternity-care coverage must cover abortion.

Abortion hotline

212-899-5567

Our 24-hour hotline is available in 12 languages.

Please leave a message with your phone number. An attorney will call you back and speak to you for free.

You do not have to leave your name. You can provide specific instructions about when and how we should call you back.

Call 212-899-5567 at any time.

We provide “know-your-rights” information, legal guidance, and referrals to:

  • New York residents
  • patients seeking abortions in New York
  • people and organizations helping patients by providing money, transport, or lodging
  • New York health care providers

No. We need only a phone number where we can reach you.

You can leave special instructions in your message. For instance, you can ask us to call only during certain hours or to not leave a message.

We can provide translation into 12 languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Chinese
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Urdu
  • Yiddish

Abortion resources

The task force has collected this information to help answer your questions about abortion rights. This is not the task force’s legal or medical advice (some of the organizations in the links may offer advice).

We try to keep this information up to date, but please check the dates on the materials to be sure they are current.

Abortion finder Information on abortion providers and abortion procedures

I need an abortion Information on abortion providers

Legal helpline (If/When/How) Legal advice, information, and referrals for people under 18 in any state who do not want to involve a parent or get a judge’s order for an abortion (note that in New York minors do not have to involve a parent or obtain a judge’s order)

National Network of Abortion Funds Information on accessing financial help, finding a clinic, or getting abortion pills. Note that you may have to make an appointment before applying for financial support.

Attorney General’s recent one-page advisory on how New York protects abortion rights

Reproductive Health Act details about the legislation.

These resources include information about abortion restrictions in each state. Remember that laws change quickly. Check the website and document dates to be sure you are reading current information.

Abortion access tracker (Planned Parenthood)

After Roe fell (Center for Reproductive Rights)

Law tracker (New York Times; requires account)

U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights publication, “Discrimination Based on Pregnancy and Related Conditions: A Resource for Students and Schools" This guidance applies to federally funded educational institutions, including nearly all public and private universities and public K-12 schools, with certain exceptions. Also see information from the federal government on what types of education institutions are exempt from Title IX.

Frequently Asked Questions for patients seeking reproductive health care in New York

Do not rely on online searches. Instead, try sites operated by legitimate reproductive-rights organizations. Our task force has reviewed these organizations and feel they represent some of the safest resources for finding abortion help.

You can also ask a trusted physician, or even a trusted friend, for a referral.

As you look for a provider, beware of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). CPCs have websites that look like health-care providers, but they usually do not provide any medical services and never provide abortions. CPCs are often located close to genuine abortion clinics and might even show up on web searches for abortion clinics.

The National Network of Abortion Funds has a useful clinic-finding guide that includes tips on how to tell if a clinic is reputable and provides real abortion services.

Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs; sometimes called pregnancy resource centers) are places that try to prevent pregnant people from having abortions – and sometimes even from using contraception. These organizations typically:

  • run ads asking if you’re “pregnant, scared, and need help”
  • make abortion sound very dangerous
  • will not say if they will or will not perform abortions, even if they use the word “choice” in their advertising

Most CPCs are not health care providers. Even if they have medical staff, they do not provide abortion counseling or referrals, and have very limited services. Many are affiliated with religious organizations that oppose abortion, contraception, and education about reproductive health.

If you accidentally go to a CPC instead of a real abortion clinic, the CPC staff will try to talk you out of having an abortion.

Before doing anything at a facility, ask whether it provides abortion services. If they don’t directly answer your question, give you a vague answer, or change the subject, you are probably dealing with a CPC.

Be sure you are at a real health care facility that offers abortion services or referrals before you share any personal information. CPCs are not subject to the same privacy laws as health care facilities.

The Repro Legal Helpline can help you understand your legal rights in your state and find out if you can receive an abortion without notifying your parents or getting their consent. If you live in a state that requires your parents to be involved, this helpline can help you try to get an abortion without telling your parents by getting a judge’s permission (judicial bypass). The free, confidential helpline is answered by lawyers and advocates.

In New York, you have the right to have an abortion without telling your spouse or parents or seeking their permission. If you have questions about having an abortion in New York, call our hotline at 212-899-5567.

Using pills to end an early pregnancy is called a medication abortion. Plan C Pills offers a lot of medical and legal information on medication abortion, and a pill-finder tool for your location. Be aware that it may not be legal to use them in your state.

You may be able to get help. The National Network of Abortion Funds lists funds across the country that provide financial help for abortion and related needs, like traveling to another state, or paying for housing while you are there. The site also has information about finding out if your insurance will pay for an abortion and guidance on finding a clinic.

If you are in New York to have a legal abortion, our protections include:

  • We will not return you to another state that wants to arrest you for a legal abortion you had in New York (unless the state claims that you illegally had the abortion outside New York).
  • New York police cannot arrest you or anyone in New York helping you, help another state arrest you, or provide another state with information about your abortion (unless they have a court-issued subpoena or warrant that is not connected to the other state’s attempt to penalize reproductive health care that is lawful in New York ).
  • No one in New York can threaten, hurt, intimidate, or interfere with you because you wish to have an abortion or use any other reproductive-health service.
  • You can countersue an out-of-state agency or individual who prosecutes you for having a legal abortion in New York.

This is as long as law enforcement in New York can tell that these other states’ requests concern legal abortion care, which New York law enforcement may not be able to do. Note that New York law can protect only what you do in New York. For example, if you go to a clinic in New York and take your first abortion pill there, but then return to your home state and take the second pill, New York law cannot protect your out-of-state actions.

No. In New York, pharmacists who have registered with the state Department of Health (DOH) can dispense hormonal contraception without a prescription from a health care provider. This includes oral contraceptives (pills), vaginal rings, and patches that release estrogen and progestin to help prevent unwanted pregnancy. 

Yes, fully funded health insurance plans must cover contraceptives (birth control).

Fully funded plans in New York must: 

  • provide guaranteed coverage of all FDA-approved methods of contraception without deductible, coinsurance, copayment, or other cost-sharing requirements, and without any restrictions or delays in coverage, such as pre-authorization.  
    • Covered contraceptive methods include all of the following:
      • barrier methods like sponges or diaphragms
      • hormonal methods like birth control pills, injections, transdermal patches, or vaginal rings
      • implanted devices like intrauterine devices (IUDs)
      • sterilization, but not including vasectomies
      • over-the-counter items such as condoms (but your insurer may require you to get a prescription before it will cover them, even though you don’t need a prescription to buy them otherwise)
      • any other FDA-approved birth control method 
    • New York must cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods. If there is more than one birth control product that uses the same drug or drugs in the same dose and is used the same way, health plans must cover at least one product in that category.
  • ensure access to emergency contraception (either with a prescription or over the counter)
  • cover a 12-month supply of birth control through a single prescription

 

If you have a self-funded plan through your employer, federal law provides similar rights to contraception coverage. More information on federal coverage requirements is available.

 

Only certain religious employers (such as churches) can opt out of offering insurance coverage through group health insurance plans. To do this, they must get approval from the state. However, they must provide written notice to employees listing the services they refuse to cover. If they refuse to cover abortion or contraception, the health insurance company must offer you coverage directly at no additional cost. 

If you have a self-funded plan provided by your employer, federal law provides different but similar rights to contraception coverage. More information about self-funded plans is available.

You can take steps to protect your privacy. The New York Attorney General has a list of tips for digital safety, which includes:

  • turning off location services and ad personalization on your phone
  • using a private web browser and virtual private network (VPN)
  • encrypting your messages
  • not posting any sensitive information on social media and making your social-media account private
  • managing online privacy settings for your accounts

See the tips for detailed instructions.

Digital Defense Fund has a good guide to abortion privacy that includes everything from protecting your browsing information from tech companies to dealing with anti-abortion protestors who want to shame you. The Electronic Frontier Foundation offers a useful guide about keeping your data safe, which includes tips for phone safety, encryption, and file management. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services also has a good guide about protecting your health information on your phone.

You may have to hire a lawyer. If you would like advice for your specific situation, call our hotline at 212-899-5567.

In a fully funded (or fully insured) plan, an employer purchases insurance from a health insurance company and pays premiums to that company. These plans are generally subject to state laws. 

In a self-funded (or self-insured) plan, an employer provides and pays for its employees’ health benefits. The employer can hire insurance companies to administer the plan. These plans are generally governed by federal laws only. 

Contact your employer or insurance company to determine if your plan is fully-funded or self-funded.

Protections for abortion-care providers, volunteers, and facilities in New York

The following protections apply at any doctor’s office, hospital, or medical clinic that provides information, referrals, counseling, or medical services about human reproduction, including family planning, abortion, and gender-affirming care:

  • Patients and staff accessing or providing reproductive health care are protected from violence, threats of force, or physical obstruction.
  • Peaceful protest is lawful free speech. This includes handouts, holding signs, and gathering on public sidewalks without blocking access.
  • It is unlawful to intentionally damage or attempt to damage the property of a health care facility because it provides reproductive health services.
  • Violations are subject to criminal penalties, as well as fines and fees (including attorney fees). Courts can also establish “buffer zones” to prevent violators from getting too close to facilities, including entrances/exits, parking lots, and driveways.

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, New York passed a series of laws aimed at protecting providers of abortion and gender-affirming care from legal action by another state, as long as the care was legally provided in New York. In connection with that care:

  • New York will not arrest or extradite you, unless you were physically present in the demanding state at the time you provided the care and fled from that state.
  • New York law enforcement cannot help an individual or out-of-state agency investigate any legally provided reproductive or gender-affirming health care except under certain conditions (which apply to reproductive health care only). Those conditions involve either of the following:

    • The person seeking the information is the patient themself; OR

    • There is a valid subpoena or warrant. This subpoena or warrant cannot be the result of another state’s attempt to penalize reproductive health care that is lawful in New York.

  • You cannot be forced to testify as a witness for an out-of-state proceeding, unless the proceeding is brought by the patient and relates to actionable conduct under New York law.
  • Your medical license cannot be revoked or suspended, or you cannot be otherwise professionally disciplined in New York.
  • A medical-malpractice insurer cannot penalize you. It cannot refuse to renew your contract, raise your rates, change your coverage terms, or report you to other parties.
  • If another state or person files a civil lawsuit against you, you can file a counter-lawsuit for triple damages and attorneys’ fees.
  • New York defines “legally protected health activity performed in New York” to include telehealth where at least the provider is located in New York, no matter where the patient is. Note: this does not apply to gender-affirming care.
  • New York cannot prevent another state from beginning a legal action, and can only provide the protections above if it can identify the out-of-state investigation as concerning legal abortion or gender–affirming care.

If you fear for your own or another’s safety because you provide or assist in abortion care, the New York Address Confidentiality Program can help prevent your address from being revealed in public documents. Apply at The New York State Address Confidentiality Program or call 1-855-350-4595

File a complaint with the OAG’s Civil Rights Bureau. Facilities are encouraged to have complaint forms available on site.
Phone: 212-416-8250
Email: clinicaccess@ag.ny.gov

For violations of the federal clinic protection act (FACE Act), you can file complaints with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in your district.

For information about the provider/helper protections, call the OAG’s Reproductive Health Hotline at 212-899-5567.

Address confidentiality: Executive Law §108(1)
Clinic access, protected entities: Federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, 18 U.S.C. § 248(a)(1); NY Clinic Access Act, N.Y. Penal Law § 240.70 et seq.
Countersuits: N.Y. Civ. Rights Law § 70-b
Extradition, Legally provided services: N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law §§ 570.17, 570.19
Insurers: N.Y. Ins. Law § 3436-a
Professional discipline: N.Y. Educ. Law §§ 6531-b, 6505-d; N.Y. Pub. Health Law §§ 230(9-c), (10)(i-a)
Cooperation of law enforcement: N.Y. Executive Law § 837-x
Witness testimony: N.Y. C.P.L.R. §§ 3102(e), 3119(g)-(h)