Although he must first get through the primary next month against three other Republican candidates, Congressman Lee Zeldin is already looking ahead to the November general election.

But at a campaign stop in Queens, he spent some time explaining his anti-abortion views, which are out of step with a majority of New Yorkers.

What You Need To Know

  • Republican candidate for governor Lee Zeldin said the law in New York will not change, even if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

  • Zeldin is running in the Republican primary next month, where his anti-abortion views could help him, but it could become a liability in the general election

  • Democrats in Albany are coming up with new ways to guarantee access to abortion

The issue became front and center after a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion revealed the justices are leaning toward overturning Roe v. Wade. 

“The reality is the law right now in New York is the law in New York,” said Republican candidate for governor Lee Zeldin. “So, the day before the Supreme Court issues its decision, the morning that we all wake up and they deliver their decision, and the morning after they issue their decision — if the draft statement actually became the decision — did you know that the law in New York doesn’t change at all?”

Democrats have already begun to mobilize. In Albany, they are talking about passing a package of bills to strengthen the state's abortion rights, and make access to abortion easier. 

Zeldin was asked about the Democratic response. 

“I think the Democrats in New York are going to try to find ways to go further. You cannot go much further than they have gone already. I mean they have legalized late-term partial birth abortions, and non-doctors performing abortions,” Zeldin said. 

In statement, Jen Goodman, a spokesperson for the Hochul campaign said, “Lee Zeldin can’t hide the facts about his own out-of-touch agenda on reproductive rights. Just a few weeks ago, Lee Zeldin made it clear that if elected, he would be an anti-choice governor with an anti-choice health commissioner. This is a wake-up call to what's at stake in New York if Zeldin has his way.”

Zeldin also doubled down on his own remarks, recently obtained by NY1, that he would appoint an anti-abortion health commissioner if elected governor.

“I’m pro-life. And I’m the one running against Kathy Hochul,” Zeldin said. 

There is no question that the Supreme Court draft opinion has shaken up the race for governor. While Republicans are hoping to put crime and safety on the ballot this fall, Democrats see a chance to make it all about reproductive rights.