New York to become 1st US city to fund abortion services

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City's $93 billion 2020 city budget sets aside $250,000 to help low-income citizens access abortions.

The New York Abortion Access Fund would make New York the first city in the United States to fund abortion services.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters that he supports the initiative but funding was championed by the council's Women's Caucus, led by co-chairs Margaret Chin and Carlina Rivera.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said he believes abortion care is health care for women and abortion access for low-income women, especially women of color, is necessary.

"This is to help low income women in New York City who have faced barriers to access to health care, get the care that they need and that they deserve, and what typically happens when abortion care is restricted across the country, wealthier women still can get abortions because they can fly to places and drive across state lines to get abortions," he said.

MORE: Abortion rights rallies being held across country, in New York City

It comes after a handful of states, including Alabama and Mississippi, signed some of the most restrictive abortion bans in United States history, often labeled "heartbeat" bans, for not allowing the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

In all, 17 bans have been signed in 10 states in 2019 -- but every type of ban is facing a legal challenge, and none of the laws have been enacted.

The budget will also put 200 more social workers in schools, retrofit city-owned buildings for energy efficiency and bolster U.S. Census outreach efforts to ensure an accurate count.

The council is required to vote on the budget before July 1, but passage is expected as a formality.

The Associated Press and ABC News contributed to this story.

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