Town Board Removes 1970 Abortion Facility Law From Books

The Huntington Town Board voted last week to remove a law from the books that attempted to limit where abortions could be performed within the town.

The resolution to remove the 1970 law was first sponsored by Councilwoman Joan Cergol, who noted that the law was not enforceable,” she said.

Councilmen Sal Ferro and David Bennardo joined later in cosponsorship of the resolution to remove the law, which passed unanimously.

The vote repealed Chapter 155 of the Town Code which pertained to pregnancy termination facilities and was enacted in 1970. It brings the Town Code into compliance with the holding of the Court of Appeals in Robin v. Hempstead, 30 N.Y.2d 347, 350 (1972). In the 1972 case, the New York State Court of Appeals struck down Hempstead Village’s law which was identical to the one enacted by the Town of Huntington.

The provision of the Town Code required that procedures for the termination of pregnancies be performed only in licensed hospitals within the jurisdiction of the town. The chapter further gave the director of the Town’s Department of Engineering the authority to notify the owner or owner’s agent of any property that was being utilized for and equipped with facilities for acts of abortion, except where authorized and permitted to do so, to cease and desist the use of said building.

The Towns of Hempstead, North Hempstead, and Oyster Bay all recently repealed similar laws that had been on the books for decades.

“I am proud to join other local municipalities on Long Island to repeal outdated regulations on where a woman can choose to terminate her pregnancy,” Cergol said. “The state judiciary and legislature have made it clear: the Town of Huntington does not have the authority to regulate this issue.”

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