Sanctuary Files Brief to SCOTUS Supporting the Right to Emergency Abortion Care

Sanctuary filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the consolidated cases Idaho v. United States and Moyle v. United States in support of reproductive care access.

Yesterday, Sanctuary filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the consolidated cases Idaho v. United States and Moyle v. United States in support of reproductive care access. We argued that by requiring pregnant patients to incur serious but preventable harms or to suffer until their medical conditions become life-threatening, Idaho’s abortion ban amounts to gender-based violence. 

Joined by a coalition of 16 organizations advocating on behalf of survivors, our brief urges the Court to consider the compounding effect of the harms caused by abortion bans that conflict with EMTALA* for pregnant patients who arrive at the emergency department with emergency medical conditions resulting from physical abuse.

Homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant women in the United States. The Court should not permit states to further endanger pregnant women’s lives and empower their abusers by denying stabilizing abortion care in the narrow but critical circumstances in which EMTALA requires it to prevent the patient’s death or serious harm to her health.

We want to thank the National Women’s Law Center for coordinating this broader effort in support of reproductive justice and our partners at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP for authoring this brief on our behalf. We also want to recognize the remarkable leadership of Sanctuary’s Reproductive Rights Advocacy Sub-Committee, co-chaired by Family Law Project and Policy Director Luba Reife and Senior Staff Attorney Anne Glatz.

Click here to read the full amicus brief. 

*The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) requires hospitals with emergency departments to provide a medical screening examination to any individual who comes to the emergency department and requests such an examination, and prohibits hospitals with emergency departments from refusing to examine or treat individuals with an emergency medical condition.

Sanctuary Urges NYS Legislators to Stand with Survivors and Advocates

Facing nearly $20 million of funding cuts, survivors and advocates are calling on the legislature to support domestic violence services.

Facing nearly $20 million of cuts on existing Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) contracts, survivors of crime and the advocates who provide them life-changing services held a press conference and rally in Albany, NY, on Wednesday, February 28th, to demand the Legislature fully fund victim services, and provide living wages to DV advocates, in the state budget.

Allison Ross, Senior Deputy Director of Sanctuary’s Non-Residential Clinical Services, spoke on behalf of our agency to explain what is at stake and why we need urgent action. Read her remarks below:

Good afternoon. I am Dr. Allison Ross, Senior Deputy Director of Non-Residential Clinical Services at Sanctuary for Families, New York’s leading service provider and advocate for survivors of gender violence.

Across the five boroughs of New York City, Sanctuary for Families operates a network of support serving over 8,000 adults and children every year. We are a cornerstone of hope for survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and related forms of gender-based violence.

Our approach is holistic. Our staff provides licensed mental health counseling; emergency and transitional shelter; legal representation; career training and placement; food assistance, and emergency client grants. Our services are not just a response but a promise of a future where safety and independence are attainable realities.

Yet, today, I stand before you with these other amazing advocates with a dire message: the lifelines we all provide are at severe risk. The specter of funding cuts looms over us, threatening to dismantle the sanctuary we’ve built for thousands of New Yorkers.

We urgently call upon our legislators to affirm their commitment to survivors and advocates in New York State. We need the Governor’s $134 million earmark to avert crippling VOCA cuts. We need you to support families escaping abuse and the organizations that serve them.

We also need a Cost-of-Living Adjustment for our dedicated staff—because, without them, our fight against domestic violence falters. Public funding is the main driver of human service salaries. Yet, under current City and State contracts, domestic violence advocates and service providers are among the lowest-paid workers in New York’s economy. This needs to change.

To falter is not an option. This is the moment for New York State to stand firm, to shield its most vulnerable. We need action, not next year, not tomorrow, but today.

The State budget must carry forward the Governor’s funding for victim services. It must include a cost-of-living salary adjustment for domestic violence advocates. Only with the Legislature’s support will organizations like Sanctuary be able to retain their dedicated staff and continue to serve thousands of New Yorkers.

Our plea is simple: safeguard our funding, support our workforce, and send a resounding message that New York will not abandon those in pursuit of a life free from violence.

Thank you.

Learn more about NYSCADV’s 2024 Budget Advocacy Day and how you can take action to support our cause.

How to Take Action This Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Join us in taking a stand this Domestic Violence Awareness Month and be part of the solution. Together, we can raise awareness and create a safer world where freedom from gender violence is a human right.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). Join advocates and survivors in New York and across the country in educating ourselves and our communities about the dynamics of abuse, and raising awareness about resources available to victims. Here are a few ways you can get involved:.

Raise Your Voice on Social Media

Help us raise awareness about the prevalence and lethality of domestic violence, as well as of resources available to survivors, by posting on social media. We have created a social media toolkit with sample captions and downloadable infographics to help get you started, but feel free to customize your messaging in whatever way is most meaningful to you.

Access our full social media toolkit here:

Check out more videos on our YouTube Channel.

Attend an Event

Join Sanctuary, fellow service providers, advocates, and supporters during the month of October.

  • October 6 |  KAFSC’s Annual Silent March against Domestic Violence, 5:00 PM @ NYPD – 109th Precinct, 37-05 Union Street, Queens, New York – The Korean American Family Service Center will be hosting a march down the heart of Flushing in solidarity with survivors of domestic violence. No registration required.
  • October 11-29 | Scrambled Eggs @ Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond St, New York, NY – Watch this provocative and heartbreaking play on Domestic Violence that highlights the causes and affects that
    it can have on one family. Buy Tickets
  • October 15 | Bronx DA Walk/Run/Roll to End Domestic Violence 5K, 9:30 AM-12:30 PM In front of the Supreme Court steps at 161st Street and the Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY – An Annual 5K Walk/Run/Roll hosted by the Bronx District Attorney’s office to raise awareness about domestic violence and honor the resilience of survivors. Register here
  • More events to be announced soon!

Request a Training

Our staff and survivor leaders are available to lead virtual trainings for community members and groups – including schools, hospitals, law enforcement, courts and judges, faith communities, and cultural groups – who are interested in learning how to identify and support survivors. Learn more.

Donate to Sanctuary

Your support ensures our ability to deliver counseling services, legal representation, career-readiness training, and shelter to thousands of immigrant and low-income survivors and families every year.

    MAKE A GIFT   
Take action to keep the conversation about domestic violence going through Domestic Violence Awareness Month and beyond.

Sanctuary Files Brief Challenging Florida’s 15-Week Abortion Ban

Every day that it remains in effect, Florida’s HB 5 causes profound, irreparable harm to victims of gender-based violence, violating their bodily autonomy and forcing them to stay tethered to dangerous abusers.


On Thursday, March 9, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP submitted an amicus brief on behalf of Sanctuary for Families and other advocates in the case of Planned Parenthood Southwest and Central Florida v. Florida, which challenges Florida’s 15-week abortion ban (HB 5) and is currently before the Florida Supreme Court.

At Sanctuary, we know that abortion bans like HB 5 endanger and disproportionately affect victims of domestic abuse, sex trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence. Florida’s 15-week ban grants abusers more power to control their victims. It can also mean a death sentence for many women in abusive relationships — In the United States, homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant and postpartum women.

Every day that it remains in effect, HB 5 causes profound, irreparable harm to victims of gender-based violence, violating their bodily autonomy and forcing them to stay tethered to dangerous abusers. We call on the Florida Supreme Court to put the health and well-being of Floridian women first and strike down this unconstitutional bill.

Click here to read the full text of our amicus brief.