As one of the first states in the nation to take the groundbreaking step of legalizing abortion in 1970 – three years before Roe v. Wade – New York led the way for the reproductive rights movement. Today, as anti-choice forces attempt to chip away at reproductive rights, defending the right to choose is no less critical.
Exposing crisis pregnancy centers
As part of our efforts to safeguard women’s access to abortion, we conducted a year-long, undercover investigation of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in New York City. Posing as legitimate reproductive health care facilities, CPCs use deceptive practices to misinform women and prevent them from exercising their full reproductive rights.
Following the release of the National Institute for Reproductive Health New York Action Fund’s report detailing the anti-choice propaganda and manipulation employed by CPCs, New York City passed an ordinance in 2011 requiring CPCs to disclose (1) whether they have a licensed medical provider on staff; (2) that the NYC DOH encourages women who are or may be pregnant to consult with a licensed provider; and (3) whether they provide or refer for abortion, EC, or prenatal care. Additionally, the law requires CPCs to abide by standard confidentiality practices, since medical privacy laws do not apply to CPCs.
Read the 2010 CPC report of our CPC investigation, She Said Abortion Could Cause Breast Cancer: A Report on the Lies, Manipulations, and Privacy Violations of Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
All women, men, and teens, regardless of economic status, should have equal access to the reproductive health care services and information they need in order to plan their families and their futures.
Affordable access to contraception is one of the best ways to prevent unintended pregnancies. Yet, anti-choice forces have launched an all-out attack on access to contraception. We work to increase public awareness of and access to the full range of contraceptive options, including emergency contraception, so that all New Yorkers can find the method that works best for them.
Protecting family planning funding
Public funding for contraception for low-income women is essential. Over the past 30 years, clinics funded through the Title X family planning program have played a critical role in ensuring access to contraceptive services for millions of low-income or uninsured individuals. Every year, New York allocates state funds to Title X providers so that women and men who do not have private insurance and are not eligible for public programs are still able to receive comprehensive family planning services.
Expanding access to contraception
Contraception plays a central role in women’s health and lives and has led efforts to expand access to contraception. We are working closely with New York State legislators to advance the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA), which would protect and enhance New Yorkers’ access to cost-free contraception.
Raising awareness of different birth control methods
In coordination with the National Institute for Reproductive Health, we launched Maybe the IUD, an educational campaign to increase knowledge of and intent to use intra-uterine devices (IUDs) among younger women in New York City, aged 16-25.
As a project of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, we launched Back Up Your Birth Control, a national campaign to expand access to emergency contraception by increasing public education and awareness.
Fighting for comprehensive sex education
New York must invest in age-appropriate, medically accurate, comprehensive sex education programs that include, among other key components, information about abstinence, contraception, parent-child communication, and healthy decision-making. For many years, we have worked with allied organizations in the Sex Education Alliance of New York City (SEANYC) to advocate for universal standards for comprehensive sex education in the city’s public school system.
Protecting teen access to reproductive health services
Adolescents face many barriers to accessing the sexual and reproductive health care they need. Teens in New York need to know their rights when it comes to getting confidential health services, as well as where they can find clinics that offer teen-friendly care.
- Teen rights: Teens in New York have the right to obtain sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception, STI testing, and abortion care, without parental consent. Unfortunately, many young people may not know that they have these rights.
- Minors’ confidential access to STI prevention treatments: We support the bill that would give minors access to STI prevention treatments, including the HPV vaccine, without parental consent. Current state regulations give minors confidential access to other reproductive health care services.
- Teen-friendly clinics: Young people can’t the get the services and information they need unless they know where to turn. We’ve partnered with the New York City Department of Health to create a listing of teen-friendly health clinics in the city. These clinics offer confidential and free or very low-cost sexual and reproductive health services for teens. Click here to download the listing.
Supporting youth leaders
TORCH is our nationally recognized youth program that combines peer sexual and reproductive health education and leadership training for New York City high school students.
Supporting reproductive freedom means supporting each woman’s ability to make the decision that is best for herself and her family, whether that means abortion, adoption, or parenting.
All women should have the information, resources, and support necessary to make informed and empowered decisions about their reproductive lives. Women should have access to unbiased counseling about all their reproductive options. Pregnant and parenting women should get the support they need to raise healthy families.
Expanding access to prenatal care
For women who choose to carry a pregnancy to term, it is critical to have timely and affordable access to prenatal care for a healthy pregnancy. We support programs that provide funding for prenatal care for low-income women.
Supporting adoption counseling
A woman considering adoption should have access to unbiased information and support that allows her to make the decision that is best for her without pressure or judgment. Visit the Book of Choices for information on adoption resources.
Protecting the rights of incarcerated women
New York is one of only four states in the nation to bar the shackling of pregnant women in prisons, jails, and detention centers. The anti-shackling law, passed and signed in 2009, requires correction officials statewide to transport pregnant women and those who have just given birth without using handcuffs and leg irons unless the inmate poses a major flight risk.