Abortion (NYPL 125.40-125.45)

Abortion in the United States has been legal in every state since the United States Supreme Court decision on January 22, 1973. In 1970, New York passed the most permissive abortion law in America, one that defined the state as the country’s abortion refuge. The law made it possible for women to terminate their pregnancies for virtually any reason within certain gestational time limits.

New York abortion laws are open and less restrictive than those in many other states, which often impose long waiting periods, consent requirements, and other statutory obstacles. Many women travel to New York to terminate their pregnancy, for reasons like:

  • Teenagers do not need their parent’s permission to have an abortion,
  • There are no waiting periods,
  • No need for state approval,
  • Patients can perform their abortion in their doctor’s office,
  • New York State Medicaid covers abortion for women with a low income.

The Empire State requires a licensed doctor to perform the procedure. But all states, including New York, have some abortion restrictions. An abortion is justifiable if it is:

  1. Committed with the consent of the pregnant woman by a licensed physician under a reasonable belief that such is necessary to preserve the pregnant woman’s life, or
  2. Performed on a woman who no more than 24 weeks pregnant.

One aspect of the legal abortion regime has been determining when the fetus can survive outside the womb as a measure of when the life of the fetus is its own. When the court ruled in 1973, the then-current medical technology suggested that viability could occur as early as 24 weeks.

Abortion in the second degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 125.40

A person is guilty of abortion in the second degree when he commits an abortional act upon a female, unless such abortional act is justifiable pursuant to subdivision three of section 125.05.

Abortion in the second degree is a class E felony and you could be sentenced to up to 4 years in state prison.

Abortion in the first degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 125.45

A person is guilty of abortion in the first degree when he commits upon a female pregnant for more than 24 weeks an abortional act which causes the miscarriage of such female, unless such abortional act is justifiable pursuant to subdivision three of section 125.05.

Abortion in the first degree is a class D felony Because, you could be sentenced to up to 7 years in state prison.

In order for you to be convicted of abortion in the first degree, you must have intended to cause a miscarriage. If you are charged with abortion in the first degree it is critical that you have experienced representation. If you did not know that the woman was pregnant or if you did not have the intent to cause the miscarriage, you may be able to successfully defend a charge of abortion in the second degree.