Women used to come to New York for reproductive healthcare. Now, they sometimes have to leave because New York State law does not comprehensively protect reproductive freedom.
For eight years, Andrew Cuomo has claimed to be a pro-choice champion. And for eight years, New York has failed to pass the Reproductive Health Act or the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act. Enough is enough. We have a dangerous misogynist in the White House and radical anti-choice Republicans throughout the country intent on taking away people’s reproductive freedom by enacting unconstitutional abortion bans, defunding Planned Parenthood, cutting maternity coverage, and limiting access to affordable birth control. Now more than ever, we must pass legislation to permanently protect reproductive freedom for all people in New York and lead on a national level again.
As Governor, I will:
Pass the Reproductive Health Act
New York State Law has not been updated since Roe v. Wade. We must must pass the Reproductive Health Act, which will take abortion out of the criminal code; codify Roe v. Wade explicitly in our state law; ensure abortion is accessible after 24 weeks for cases where a patient’s health is at risk or in instances of fetal non-viability; and allow advanced practice clinicians to administer abortions so people living in rural areas are able to access abortion services.
Pass the Comprehensive Contraception Act
The Comprehensive Contraception Act will mandate that all state insurers cover FDA-approved birth control. As the Trump administration works to rollback Obama-era employer mandates, its more important than ever our state passes legislation to safeguard this right.
Create a Maternal Mortality Review Board
Women of color are four times more likely to die because of pregnancy or childbirth than white women. Low-income women face even higher rates of maternal mortality — 67 percent of maternal deaths from 2012 to 2013 were women with Medicaid insurance. We must strengthen health insurance for all New Yorkers by expanding Medicaid, prenatal education and social support. We must pass legislation to create a Maternal Mortality Review Board to collectively assess this dangerous disparity in maternal mortality and review each death to help inform methods for practitioners to reduce the number of women dying in pregnancy. Most important, we must develop quality-improvement toolkits and metrics to enact the recommendations of the review board.
Ensure Comprehensive Sex Ed in New York Schools
We must ensure all students receive comprehensive sexuality education, including LGBTQIA-inclusive information. We must ensure that teachers are assigned specifically to teach health—and that they provide medically accurate information and the skills needed to avoid STIs and unwanted pregnancy.
Menstrual Equity as Gender Equity
Menstrual equity is gender equity—and we must provide these products free of charge in prisons, custodial settings, homeless shelters, and schools. We must have laws and policies that ensure that menstrual products are safe and affordable for all who need them, especially New York’s low-income students. For three years, the New York State Assembly passed a bill to provide menstrual products in prisons and other punitive custodial settings but the bill stalled in the State Senate. It’s time to pass this important legislation.