New York Magazine

The Year New York Almost Lost the Right to Choose

Politics and service journalism from the early era of legal abortion.

In the beginning New York State legalized abortion on April 9, 1970, not quite three years before Roe v. Wade came down. It was the second state to do so, after Hawaii, and the first to allow abortions for nonresidents. The State Assembly vote had been close in Albany—a tie, in fact—until one legislator rose and dramatically changed his vote from no to yes, citing his children’s pleading and his conscience. (Bedlam broke out in the chamber.)

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