The audience at New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address this week erupted into thunderous applause when he announced his commitment to passing the Reproductive Health Act as part of a broad Women’s Equality Act.
As you might imagine, women’s health advocates in New York are thrilled that their hard work on this bill over the past several years is starting to pay off. During last spring’s advocacy campaign alone, the governor received thousands of calls and e-mails from supporters urging his leadership in making this important women’s health care bill law.
The icing on the cake for the state’s women and families is that this historic initiative will not only guarantee a woman can make her own personal, private health care decisions, especially when her health is endangered during pregnancy, it also provides protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual harassment, and human trafficking. It will establish pay equity, and end pregnancy discrimination in the workplace.
The Reproductive Health Act will fix a troubling gap in New York’s abortion law. When a woman in New York experiences serious health complications during pregnancy, this tragedy is compounded by the state’s current law which makes it a potential crime for a health care provider to terminate later in pregnancy.
On Monday, January 14, an estimated 400 advocates will converge on the state capitol—in a sea of pink—to rally and meet with individual members of both houses of the state legislature to urge passage of this unprecedented package of policies that will improve the lives of the women and families of the great state of New York.
- Dianne L. Patterson, Vice President of Public Relations at Family Planning Advocates of New York State