MAHN Lawmakers Introduce Abortion Access Bill Package
City Council members Margaret S. Chin (D-LES, Chinatown), Carlina Rivera (D-East Village, Gramercy Park, Kips Bay, Lower East Side, Murray Hill, Rose Hill), Diana Ayala (D-East Harlem, The Bronx), Helen Rosenthal (D-Central Park, Lincoln Square), and Adrienne Adams (D-Queens), Karen Koslowitz (D-Queens), members of the Women’s Caucus, yesterday called for a bold response to the national assault on women’s reproductive rights.
Last month, Louisiana became the fifth state to enact a ban on abortions after only six weeks of gestation. In 2019 alone, 368 restrictions on abortion access have been introduced in legislatures across the country and nine states have already passed bills to limit abortion procedures.
Earlier this week, the members of the City Council’s Women’s Caucus came together to introduce four Council resolutions which aim to enhance the existing protections for reproductive healthcare rights in New York, affirm New York’s reputation as a beacon for reproductive freedom, and serve as a strong rebuke to nationwide efforts to control women’s bodies.
The package of resolutions meant to uphold women’s reproductive rights and protect women’s reproductive health includes:
- Opposition to Sex-Selective Abortion Bans – Sex-selective abortion bans scrutinize a woman’s reasons for making the decision to terminate a pregnancy, perpetuate racial stereotypes, and undermine access to care. Bans on sex-selective abortions have already passed in 10 states, and in 2017, a bill to ban sex-selective abortions was introduced in the New York State Assembly. This Resolution introduced by Women’s Caucus Co-Chair, Margaret S. Chin, urges the United States Congress and the New York State Legislature to oppose a ban on sex-selective abortions.
- Dismiss New Regulations That Prohibit The Use of Federal Title X Funds to Perform, Promote, or Support Abortion as a Method of Family Planning – Council Members Diana Ayala and Helen Rosenthal introduced this Resolution to call on the Federal Government to dismiss the new Federal Title X funding regulations which block Title X funding from planning providers that offer abortion services and/or refer patients to other providers for abortion services. If implemented, these new regulations would severely limit access to vital preventive and reproductive healthcare, disproportionately affecting Latinx, Black, uninsured, and low-income Americans.
- Amend NY State Insurance Law to Require Inclusion of Abortion in Individual or Group Policies – Governor Cuomo has taken executive actions to mandate all insurance plans cover abortion, but any future Governor could change that through their own executive actions. This Resolution, introduced by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, calls on the New York State Legislature and Governor to pass and sign A.2807 which amends State insurance law to mandate coverage of abortions in policies that already provide coverage for hospital, surgical, medical, and maternity care.
- Amend Social Services Law to Extend State Basic Health Program Coverage to Individuals Whose Immigration Status Renders Them Ineligible For Medicaid – This Resolution, introduced by Council Member Adrienne Adams, calls on Governor Cuomo to pass S.3900/A.5974 which would expand coverage of health care services under the State’s Essential Plan to all New York residents, regardless of immigration status. This amendment to the social services law would extend health insurance coverage to 324,800 undocumented New Yorkers.
The package of resolutions affirms reproductive justice as a human right and ensures access to quality healthcare services.
“Our resolution package serves as a call to action for New York to expand its commitment to reproductive justice, and as a reminder that we must all stay vigilant and resilient against any threats to the rights of women. I thank all of the advocates, including Planned Parenthood and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, for their leadership on this effort,” said Chin.
“Reproductive rights and abortion access is a human right. New York City must stand strong on any and all attacks on a person’s right to choose and their bodily autonomy. While cities across the country are fending off attacks from their own government, I am proud to co-sponsor this Abortion Access package of bills to make clear where we stand when it comes to reproductive rights,” said Rivera,Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus.
“Not only are thousands of patients in danger of being left without care, but society as a whole will bear the consequences of this assault on women’s rights. The majority of Americans have consistently supported access to abortion services. I stand in solidarity with women across the country who are defending their rights, and I will fight to ensure that access is not blocked here in New York,” said Rosenthal.
“Reproductive rights are being attacked by various states across the nation in an attempt to undermine Roe v. Wade. Recently-passed laws in states like Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana will detrimentally impact women seeking abortions—especially those who do not have the financial means to seek this crucial form of healthcare elsewhere,” said Ayala.
Brewer Leads Day Of Action For Free Summer Meals For Kids
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer yesterday led a borough-wide Day of Action to provide parents and children with detailed information about New York City’s Free Summer Meals Program, including specific sites and times.
The Summer Meals program is federally funded and serves free, nutritious meals for kids during the summer at hundreds of public schools, public pools and recreation centers, libraries, and other sites.
In late 2017, the City Council passed legislation sponsored by then-Council Member James Vacca, which became Local Law 4 of 2018, requiring the Department of Education (DOE) to distribute specific summer meals information by June 1.
“The Free Summer Meals program is an incredible resource in the fight against childhood hunger, but it can only help families that know about it. There’s no substitute for old-fashioned flyering, and that’s why we hit the streets today to get detailed, neighborhood-specific information into students’ and parents’ hands in English, Spanish, and Chinese,” said Brewer.
“When information is published and distributed by the start of June instead of later in the month, it’s far more likely schools will successfully distribute the information to students and families before exams, graduations, and other end-of-year disruptions get in the way,” added Brewer.
Velazquez Applauds Committee Approval of Flood Insurance Bill
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) yesterday announced that the House Committee on Financial Services had approved a measure that would reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and better help policyholders receive compensation under their policies after flooding damage.
The legislation, authored by Velazquez, helps policyholders who are appealing a denial of their NFIP claim. It also enacts new transparency requirements and imposes penalties on unscrupulous insurance companies. The Financial Services Committee approved Velázquez’s bill with a bipartisan vote of 58 to 0, it now heads to the full House for consideration.
Following Hurricane Sandy, the NFIP paid out $8.8 billion in payouts to policyholders. However, many policyholders reported difficulties in receiving their rightful compensation. Some media reports exposed altered engineering reports and other documents that insurance companies were using to deny structural damage or to argue that pre-existing soil conditions caused damages and losses, rather than floodwaters.
“Following Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers saw up close many problems in the flood insurance program. This legislation makes targeted changes so the program works more efficiently and, policyholders receive timely payment on their claims,” said Velazquez.
“It is appalling that those who faithfully paid premiums for flood insurance would be denied their claims when they’ve lost their homes to catastrophe. My bill sides with homeowners, giving them additional tools to appeal claim denials and to make certain policyholders fully understand what’s covered in their policies. These are commonsense reforms that would help Americans affected by disasters when they are at their most vulnerable.”