Bill Text: NY S01254 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Enacts the reproductive health care facilities access act; provides that the crime of criminal interference with health care services or religious worship shall be established by the mens rea of knowingly injuring, intimidating or interfering with a person obtaining or providing or assisting in obtaining or providing reproductive health services; includes in the definition of such crime engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts within twenty-five feet of the premises of a reproductive health care facility; defines such premises; provides for a civil cause of action for any person harmed by conduct constituting such a crime.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-01-11 - REFERRED TO CODES [S01254 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S01254-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          1254
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                    January 11, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced by Sens. PARKER, MAYER -- read twice and ordered printed, and
          when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes
        AN  ACT  to amend the penal law and the civil rights law, in relation to
          enacting the reproductive health care facilities access act
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "reproduc-
     2  tive health care facilities access act".
     3    § 2. Legislative intent. The  legislature  finds  that  the  right  to
     4  obtain  reproductive  health  services  is  an  essential personal right
     5  protected by state and federal law.  Equally,  the  right  to  peaceably
     6  protest  and  express one's views is protected by state and federal law.
     7  Such actions include, but are not limited to, the right to speak, march,
     8  demonstrate, or engage in other activity protected by the  First  Amend-
     9  ment.
    10    The  legislature  finds  that  current law does not adequately protect
    11  reproductive health care facilities  and  those  who  work  in  or  seek
    12  services from such facilities. Therefore, the legislature has determined
    13  that  it  is appropriate for the protection of the public health, safety
    14  and welfare, to enact legislation to prohibit interference  with  access
    15  to  reproductive  health  care  services, so that persons harmed by such
    16  conduct can seek redress in the courts and the state can obtain  injunc-
    17  tive  relief  and  damages.  Furthermore, the legislature has determined
    18  that it is appropriate to enact this legislation to: ensure public safe-
    19  ty and order; protect freedom to receive reproductive  health  services;
    20  advance medical privacy and the well-being of patients seeking reproduc-
    21  tive health care services at facilities; and safeguard private property.
    22    §  3.  Section 240.70 of the penal law, as added by chapter 635 of the
    23  laws of 1999, is amended to read as follows:
    24  § 240.70 Criminal interference with health care  services  or  religious
    25             worship in the second degree.
    26    1. A person is guilty of criminal interference with health services or
    27  religious worship in the second degree when:
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD04357-01-9

        S. 1254                             2
     1    (a)  by force or threat of force or by physical obstruction, he or she
     2  [intentionally] knowingly injures, intimidates or  interferes  with,  or
     3  attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with, another person because
     4  such  other  person  was  or  is obtaining or providing, or assisting in
     5  obtaining or providing, reproductive health services; or
     6    (b)  by force or threat of force or by physical obstruction, he or she
     7  [intentionally] knowingly injures, intimidates or  interferes  with,  or
     8  attempts  to  injure,  intimidate  or  interfere with, another person in
     9  order to discourage such other person or any  other  person  or  persons
    10  from  obtaining  or  providing,  or assisting in obtaining or providing,
    11  reproductive health services; or
    12    (c) by force or threat of force or by physical obstruction, he or  she
    13  intentionally  injures,  intimidates  or interferes with, or attempts to
    14  injure, intimidate or interfere with, another person because such person
    15  was or is seeking to exercise the right of religious freedom at a  place
    16  of religious worship; or
    17    (d)  he  or  she  intentionally  damages the property of a health care
    18  facility, or attempts to do so, because such facility provides reproduc-
    19  tive health services, or intentionally damages the property of  a  place
    20  of religious worship[.]; or
    21    (e)  he  or  she  engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits
    22  acts, or attempts to engage in a course of conduct or repeatedly  commit
    23  acts,  within  twenty-five feet of the premises of a reproductive health
    24  care facility in order to discourage another person  from  obtaining  or
    25  providing,  or  assisting in obtaining or providing, reproductive health
    26  services when such behavior places such other person in reasonable  fear
    27  of harm.
    28    2. A parent or legal guardian of a minor shall not be subject to pros-
    29  ecution  for  conduct  otherwise prohibited by [paragraph (a) or (b) of]
    30  subdivision one of this section which is directed  exclusively  at  such
    31  minor.
    32    3. For purposes of this section:
    33    (a)  the  term "health care facility" means a hospital, clinic, physi-
    34  cian's office  or  other  facility  that  provides  reproductive  health
    35  services,  and  includes the building or structure in which the facility
    36  is located;
    37    (b) the term "interferes with" means to restrict a person's freedom of
    38  movement and shall include, but shall not be limited to, activities that
    39  restrict or attempt to restrict access to or from a health care  facili-
    40  ty,  the  performance of medical procedures at a health care facility or
    41  the delivery of goods to such a facility;
    42    (c) the term "intimidates" means  to  place  a  person  in  reasonable
    43  apprehension  of  physical  injury  to  himself or herself or to another
    44  person;
    45    (d) the term "physical obstruction" means rendering impassable ingress
    46  to or egress from a facility that provides reproductive health  services
    47  or  to  or from a place of religious worship, or rendering passage to or
    48  from such a facility or place of religious worship  unreasonably  diffi-
    49  cult or hazardous; [and]
    50    (e) the term "reproductive health services" means health care services
    51  provided in a hospital, clinic, physician's office or other facility and
    52  includes  medical, surgical, counseling or referral services relating to
    53  the human reproductive system, including services relating to  pregnancy
    54  or the termination of a pregnancy[.]; and
    55    (f) the term "premises of a reproductive health care facility" means a
    56  health  care  facility  and includes the driveway, entrance, entryway or

        S. 1254                             3
     1  exit of such facility, any parking lot in  which  the  facility  has  an
     2  ownership  or  leasehold interest and any public parking lots within two
     3  hundred feet of the facility which serve the facility.
     4    Criminal  interference  with health care services or religious worship
     5  in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.
     6    § 4. Section 79-m of the civil rights law, as amended by  chapter  566
     7  of the laws of 2008, is amended to read as follows:
     8    §  79-m.  Criminal  interference  with health care services, religious
     9  worship, funeral, burial or memorial service; injunction; civil  action.
    10  1.  Whenever  the  attorney  general  or district attorney of the county
    11  where the affected health care facility, place of religious worship,  or
    12  site  of a funeral, burial or memorial service is located has reasonable
    13  cause to believe that any person or group of persons is being, has been,
    14  or may be injured by conduct constituting a violation of section 240.21,
    15  240.70 [or], 240.71, 240.72 or 240.73 of the  penal  law,  the  attorney
    16  general  or  district  attorney  may  bring an action in the name of the
    17  people of the state of New York to permanently enjoin such violation. In
    18  such action preliminary and temporary relief may be granted under  arti-
    19  cle sixty-three of the civil practice law and rules.
    20    2.  A  civil  claim  or cause of action to recover from a defendant as
    21  hereinafter defined, for physical,  psychological  or  other  injury  or
    22  condition  suffered  by  a person, including any person whose ability to
    23  access the premises of a health care facility has been  interfered  with
    24  or  any  owner  or operator of such a facility or owner of a building in
    25  which such facility is located or any employee or volunteer working  for
    26  such  a  facility,  as  a result   of acts by such defendant of criminal
    27  interference with health care  services  or  religious  worship  in  the
    28  second  degree  as  defined in section 240.70 of the penal law, criminal
    29  interference with health care services or religious worship in the first
    30  degree as defined in section 240.71 of the penal law, aggravated  inter-
    31  ference  with  health  care  services in the second degree as defined in
    32  section 240.72 of the penal law, or aggravated interference with  health
    33  care  services  in  the first degree as defined in section 240.73 of the
    34  penal law may be brought  within five years. As used  in  this  subdivi-
    35  sion, the term "defendant" shall mean only a person who commits the acts
    36  described in this subdivision or who, in a criminal proceeding, could be
    37  charged with criminal liability for the commission of such acts pursuant
    38  to  section  20.00  of  the penal law and shall not apply to any related
    39  civil claim or cause of action arising from such acts. Nothing  in  this
    40  section  shall be construed to require that a criminal charge be brought
    41  or a criminal conviction be obtained as a condition of bringing a  civil
    42  cause  of action or receiving a civil judgment pursuant to this subdivi-
    43  sion or be construed to require that any of the rules governing a crimi-
    44  nal proceeding be applicable to any such civil action. A plaintiff in  a
    45  civil  cause or action brought pursuant to this subdivision may seek any
    46  relief available consistent with  the  civil  practice  law  and  rules,
    47  including injunctive relief.
    48    § 5. Severability. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part
    49  of  this act shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to
    50  be invalid and after exhaustion of  all  further  judicial  review,  the
    51  judgment  shall  not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof,
    52  but shall be confined in its operation to the  clause,  sentence,  para-
    53  graph,  section or part of this act directly involved in the controversy
    54  in which the judgment shall have been rendered.
    55    § 6. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed-
    56  ing the date on which it shall have become a law.
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