FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sept. 27, 2016

Contact: Christie Petrone, 646-520-3504, cpetrone@nirhealth.org

National Institute for Reproductive Health, New York City Councilmembers Celebrate New York City’s Early Leadership on Funding for Abortion, Urge Passage of Federal EACH Woman Act,
Repeal of Hyde Amendment  

NEW YORK — The National Institute for Reproductive Health joined New York City Councilmember and Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus Helen Rosenthal and other advocates at City Hall today in calling on Congress and President Obama to reinstate insurance coverage for abortion services for women enrolled in public insurance programs by enacting the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH) Woman Act. The EACH Woman Act would ensure abortion access for every woman who receives care or insurance through the federal government by prohibiting political interference in insurance coverage of abortion.

“New York City’s leaders understand that every woman must have the right and ability to make decisions about whether and when to parent, and that those decisions shouldn’t be based on where she lives or how she is insured,” said National Institute for Reproductive Health President Andrea Miller. “That’s why we worked together to pass a City Council resolution in 2013, and we’re proud to continue New York’s tradition of protecting individuals from all forms of discrimination, as we send a powerful warning to legislators attempting to interfere in women’s health care decisions.”

New York joins cities across the country this week demanding insurance coverage of abortion care as part of a broad, coordinated effort by the All* Above All coalition, coinciding with the 40th year of the Hyde Amendment prohibiting Medicaid coverage of abortion. The National Institute is a member organization of All* Above All.

“New York State already fills the coverage gap left by the federal Hyde Amendment, but women in other states aren’t so lucky. Today New York women are raising their voices to call for equal access to abortion coverage for all American women. I am proud to support this cause alongside the National Institute of Reproductive Health and All Above All,” said Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus.

“Removing public funding for abortion has a devastating effect on women and families, specifically low-income women and women of color. As opponents know, when restrictions are placed on Medicaid coverage for abortion, poor women are hit the hardest,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services. “No woman should effectively be denied abortion because of her economic status, and removing options for these populations is callous and shameful.”

For 40 years, politicians have used the Hyde Amendment to deny coverage for abortion care for those insured through Medicaid. Although New York provides Medicaid coverage of abortion, state and federal employees, Peace Corps members, and beneficiaries of Indian Health Services and military insurance programs continue to be excluded from coverage.

The National Institute led the effort in 2013 to pass a New York City resolution calling for an end to restrictions on abortion coverage. The resolution, one of the first nationally, commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

The National Institute has partnered with local organizations and elected officials to pass resolutions in seven other localities across the country in recent years — in Cambridge, Mass.; Cook County, Ill.; Madison, Wis.; Philadelphia (Board of Health); San Francisco; Seattle; and Travis County, Texas — as well as in Ithaca, NY, earlier this month. This month, resolutions have been introduced by city councils in Boston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, with support from the National Institute.

Representatives from the Center for Reproductive Rights, Sea Change, and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health also spoke at City Hall in support of funding for abortion care. The full list of New York City United for Abortion Coverage Week of Action events can be found here.

“It is shameful that women in this country have been denied access to safe and legal abortion for decades simply because they can’t afford it,” said Kelly Baden, director of state advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The Hyde Amendment is discriminatory and dangerous.  We commend the New York City Council for recognizing that everyone should be able to get the care they need when they have made the decision to end a pregnancy.”

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The National Institute for Reproductive Health works across the country to increase access to reproductive health care by changing public policy, galvanizing public support, and normalizing women’s decisions to have abortions and use contraception.