FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2016

Contact: Christie Petrone, 646-520-3504, [email protected]

Grassroots Activists from Across New York Deliver Nearly 4,500 Petition Signatures
During Reproductive Health Lobby Day

ALBANY, NY — Reproductive rights activists with the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund and Physicians for Reproductive Health came from across the state today to hand-deliver nearly 4,500 signatures on petitions to their legislators in support of the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA), a groundbreaking bill that would improve access to contraceptive methods for both women and men.

The CCCA, which passed the Assembly in January and is pending in the Senate, would guarantee insurance coverage without a co-pay, allow individuals to obtain up to a year’s worth of contraception at a time, cover male contraceptive methods, and increase access to emergency contraception. The CCCA has bipartisan support, and is sponsored in the Senate by Republican John Bonacic.

“The widespread grassroots enthusiasm for the CCCA reflects New Yorkers’ understanding that women’s equal participation in our society and our economic stability depend on access to contraception that enables us to determine whether and when to have children,” said Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund and its Campaign for a Pro-Choice New York. “With mere weeks left in this legislative session, it’s urgent that the Senate act now to remedy the barriers to contraception that persist today.”

New York has one of the highest rates of unintended pregnancy in the country. Despite the advances of the Affordable Care Act, gaps in contraceptive insurance coverage, inconsistent access to coverage or care, and high co-payments remain, in direct conflict with federal guidance. The CCCA would build on the existing state and federal law, enabling patients to make informed decisions about their birth control options, improving their chances of consistent use, and lowering rates of unintended pregnancy in New York state.

In concert with the National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund’s Lobby Day, Raising Women’s Voices-NY, an initiative focusing on health reform and women’s health, described new research today demonstrating the necessity of the CCCA. Raising Women’s Voices-NY conducted exhaustive research of insurance plans across the state and found significant gaps in New York’s contraceptive coverage.

“Contraceptive coverage without co-pays has been a promise, but not a reality, for many New York women,” said Lois Uttley, director of Raising Women’s Voices-NY. “Our research has found that some New York health plans fall far short of complying with new federal contraceptive coverage rules. They are telling women they don’t cover all 18 birth control methods, contrary to the federal rules, and inappropriately quoting co-pays for some types of contraception.”

Kathleen Morrell, M.D., an obstetrician and gynecologist in Brooklyn and a member of Physicians for Reproductive Health, said, “The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act will allow me to provide the best possible care to my patients. In my 10 years as an obstetrician-gynecologist caring for the women of New York, I have seen many patients experience difficulty accessing or affording the contraceptive method that is right for them. I am proud to represent the many physicians and health care providers who support this legislation and know that access to contraception is vital to the health of our communities.”

Physicians for Reproductive Health President and CEO Jodi Magee said, “Doctors know that contraceptive use is critical to the well-being of our families and communities. The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act will allow each woman and her physician to determine the best possible contraceptive method for her and ensure timely and affordable access. That is why Physicians for Reproductive Health supports this essential legislation.”

Family Planning Advocates of New York State Board Chair Kim Atkins said, “Contraception is basic health care and a cornerstone of our modern life and economy. Eliminating barriers to the fundamental reproductive health care that New Yorkers rely on while reducing costs for women and men is a simple, but much-needed step. We know that affordable and accessible health care is key to improving New Yorkers’ health, both now and in the future. Our state cannot wait any longer for the essential safeguard of the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act, and we look for Senate action now.”

New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman said, “No woman should be barred from accessing contraception just because her insurance doesn’t cover it. The Senate must recognize that contraception is fundamental to women’s health and equality, and pass the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act.”

New Yorkers from across the state will meet with about 50 senators and assembly members today to urge passage of the CCCA, as well as other reproductive health care legislation, including the Reproductive Services Act, which would ensure that New York state law guarantees all the protections contained in Roe v. Wade, and comprehensive sexuality education across New York State.

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The National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization, conducts legislative and political advocacy to protect and advance reproductive health, rights, and justice and supports partner advocacy in states and cities nationwide. The Action Fund previously operated as NARAL Pro-Choice New York.