I’m running to fight for women’s freedoms


In June of 2022, a drastically conservative Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ripping away our constitutional right to make our own health care decisions — a right Americans had held for nearly 50 years. This disastrous decision, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, was the direct result of Republicans’ decades-long, methodical attack on women’s reproductive freedom, and it ignited a fervor among extreme anti-choice groups to challenge access to abortion care, in vitro fertilization and birth control at both the state and federal levels — including here in New York.

Two years later, the fight for our bodily autonomy persists in courtrooms, statehouses and Congress. This November presents a pivotal opportunity to reinstate Roe v. Wade as the law of the land, remove the government from our doctors’ offices, and protect women’s fundamental freedoms once again.

Since Roe was overturned, legislators and governors in more than a dozen states have imposed harsh restrictions and outright bans on abortion. The repercussions have been devastating. Cases like that of a child rape victim who was forced to travel out of state for an abortion; or a woman who developed sepsis after doctors denied her an abortion for a non-viable pregnancy; or a woman who was denied an exception for abortion care for a nonviable pregnancy by a judge even when her ability to have more children was at risk, illustrate the dire consequences of these laws.

Republican extremists like my opponent in the race for the seat in the 4th Congressional District, the incumbent, Anthony D’Esposito, would have you believe that women in blue states like New York will be spared this suffering because, they say, abortion is now solely a state-level issue. That claim completely ignores the federal-level efforts that far-right anti-abortion groups have launched to restrict reproductive rights nationwide, like the outrageous legal campaign to ban medication abortion and House Republicans’ support for a national ban on abortion — which would impact New York.

On top of these efforts, state-level bans can have spillover effects on abortion access in New York. In 2023, thousands of women traveled from abortion-hostile states to protected states, including 6,000 women who traveled to our state. This strains the capacity of our providers, impacting care and access for New Yorkers.

Despite the very real threat to abortion access here in New York, my opponent is continuing to push an anti-choice agenda that’s completely out of touch with the values and needs of Long Island.

D’Esposito’s record is clear: He endorsed a federal ban on abortion that would apply to New York. He endorsed Donald Trump — who proudly claims credit for dismantling Roe — for president. D’Esposito voted to fund misleading so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” which peddle dangerous misinformation about reproductive health care to women here on Long Island, and backed restrictions on abortion access for military servicewomen. If re-elected, he will continue to empower, and ally himself with, anti-choice extremists who aim to restrict our ability to decide when and how we start a family.

This election will be a turning point. We can rectify past injustices, restore our freedoms and implement policies to broaden reproductive health care. Achieving a pro-choice majority in Congress could reaffirm Roe as the law of the land, shield against attacks on birth control and IVF, and promote inclusive policies like enhanced contraception coverage and equitable maternal care. As a woman, as a mother of daughters and as someone who doesn’t believe the government should make our medical decisions, ensuring that this fundamental freedom is reinstated for women is personal to me — and I’ll do everything in my power to fight back against extreme attacks on our rights.

We stand at a crossroads in this election. By choosing leaders committed to protecting and expanding reproductive health care, we can counteract the damage inflicted by the Dobbs decision and by anti-abortion extremists like Anthony D’Esposito. Failure to do so risks irrevocable setbacks to our freedom. The choice is clear, and it is ours to make.

Laura Gillen, a former Hempstead town supervisor, is a Democratic candidate in the 4th Congressional District.