FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2017
Contact: Christie Petrone, 646-520-3504, cpetrone@nirhealth.org

In the Face of Federal Hostility, Elected Officials and Activists Join Reproductive Freedom Day of Action to Protect Full Access to Abortion and Birth Control in New York

NEW YORK – The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) today led activists from around the state to Albany for its Reproductive Freedom Day of Action, calling upon the New York State Senate to pass the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) and the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA). The RHA would secure abortion rights in New York state law and bring it in line with the standard of Roe v. Wade, while the CCCA, which was introduced in January by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, would ensure that birth control remains covered by insurance with no copay, among other advances, regardless of what happens at the federal level to the Affordable Care Act. Both bills have passed the Assembly but have not been voted on in the Senate.

NIRH co-hosted the Reproductive Freedom Day of Action with Physicians for Reproductive Health and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) District II and was joined at a press conference this afternoon by Senator Liz Krueger; Assemblymember Kevin Cahill; Assemlymember Deborah Glick; New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman; abortion provider Dr. Kathleen Morrell; and Erika Christiansen, who was forced to leave New York because she was unable to receive a necessary an abortion in the state. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who introduced the CCCA earlier this year also attended the press conference.

“My Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act would protect and enhance New Yorkers’ access to cost-free contraception – which is all the more vital with Republicans in Washington committed to rolling back women’s fundamental right to reproductive health care,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “New Yorkers need to know that they can effectively plan for their future, no matter what happens in Washington. I urge the State Senate to pass my bill, along with the Reproductive Health Act, and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the reproductive health care they need.”

“With a president and Congress attacking reproductive health and rights with unprecedented vigor, what happens at the state and local level has never been more critical,” said Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health. “New York legislators must seize the opportunity to affirmatively protect and, indeed, advance access to high-quality, affordable abortion and contraception by passing the RHA and CCCA. Right now, people are more attentive, politically engaged, and mobilized than ever before – and they expect their elected officials to act on their behalf and act now to pass this legislation. The New York State Senate majority has a decision to make: it can do nothing, and continue to stand with the Trump administration and extremists in Congress, or it can take action and stand up for the vast majority of New York voters by passing the RHA and CCCA.”

“The rights of New York families are under attack. Between the deeply unpopular health care repeal, defunding Planned Parenthood, and appointing an extremist to the Supreme Court, Donald Trump is wholeheartedly embracing the Republican war on women,” said New York State Senator Liz Krueger. “So it is more important than ever for New York State to step up to the plate and protect reproductive rights and access by passing the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act. New York women can no longer accept empty and unfulfilled promises – now is the time for real action and real leadership. I hope my colleagues in the Legislature will support these bills and send them quickly to the governor’s desk.”

“And still we persist. Time is of the essence for the New York State Senate to bring both the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act and the Reproductive Health Act to the floor for a vote,” said Assemblymember Kevin Cahill. “New York has been a leader in protecting reproductive rights, but right now there is a tremendous uncertainty surrounding healthcare. Actions by the Federal government make it even more important for each bill to be brought forward for a vote in the State Senate. Just as their Assembly colleagues have done, each and every Senator should get on the record before Session ends in just a few weeks, even if it means casting a No vote. We know not everyone supports these measures. Depriving those of us who do of the opportunity to even vote is simply unacceptable.”

“The right to determine one’s future begins with the right to control one’s reproductive choices. This is the 21st century and women should not be arguing 19th century strictures,” Assemblymember Deborah Glick said.

“The Trump administration poses a clear and present danger to women. By taking aim at Roe v. Wade and contraceptive coverage, they are threatening women’s equal participation in society and their ability to control the most basic decisions about their lives, health, and their families,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “That is why the state senate and the governor must act to pass the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act now. Both measures are critical to women’s health, dignity and equality in New York. Women in New York cannot afford to wait.”

“In May of 2016, I chose to terminate a doomed pregnancy at 32 weeks. Due to the current New York state law, I was unable to receive the care I needed without traveling to another state,” said Erika Christensen. “New York needs to pass the Reproductive Health Act so that people who find themselves in circumstances like mine will be able to get the high-quality care they need right here in New York state.”

###

The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) builds power at the state and local levels to change public policy, galvanize public support, and normalize women’s decisions about abortion and contraception.