Planned Parenthood Supporters Turn Out to Rally and Lobby Lawmakers
(Albany, NY) Over 1,000 reproductive health and rights advocates, patients and supporters from around the state convened in Albany demonstrating New York’s strong support for reproductive health care and rights. While New York State protected safe, legal abortion with the Reproductive Health Act, that hasn’t stopped the federal administration from escalating attacks on our reproductive health care – from gutting the nation’s oldest family planning program to banning abortion. Today’s Day of Action was an opportunity to thank Planned Parenthood advocates, recharge and refuel to face continuing challenges, and promote sound public health policy.
Speakers included statewide elected leadership including Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Tish James, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie and as well as Planned Parenthood providers and patients.
Statement from Robin Chappelle Golston, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts:
“We know our advocates make a difference every day and we are thankful that their commitment is shared by our state leaders. Reproductive health care is a human right. The federal administration’s current attempt to drastically reshape Title X threatens access to wellness exams, birth control, cancer screenings and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections for our most vulnerable New Yorkers. We are here today to say that New York will never stop fighting for our health care and rights."
After the morning rally, advocates spent the afternoon lobbying their elected representatives on an array of issues. While the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) was a welcome and much-needed safeguard, much remains to be done. Advocates thanked their representatives for passage of the RHA and spoke with them about current pressing issues including:
- Support for Publicly-funded Reproductive Health Care: In our state, Planned Parenthood serves 52% of the patients seeking care at a Title X funded health center. We must stand up and fight back against the federal administration’s attempt to implement the Gag Rule – an effort to drastically alter and undermine Title X, the nation’s oldest family planning program.
- Preventing Maternal Mortality: Black women are nearly four times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than white women. Our state needs a Maternal Mortality Review Board to develop strategies to reduce the unacceptably high rate of maternal mortality.
- Advancing Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE): Every student should know how to build healthy relationships and live healthy lives. Statewide age-appropriate, medically accurate sex ed from kindergarten through 12th grade can provide the necessary tools and information. In today’s #MeToo era, our state needs to step up to ensure statewide, quality CSE.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul:
“While the federal government threatens to roll back our progress on women’s reproductive health, we’re proud to partner with Planned Parenthood and other advocates to continue to fight for our rights and protections. We made history with the signing of the Reproductive Health Act earlier this year, but we still have more work to do to achieve true social, economic, racial, and gender justice. Our 2019 Women’s Agenda builds on our efforts to attain true gender parity in New York State once and for all.”
Attorney General Tish James:
“Access to health care is a basic human right. As the federal government attacks our rights and attempts to gut our health care providers, it is imperative that we continue to advance legislation in New York to protect women’s reproductive rights and access to care. I thank Planned Parenthood for their commitment to providing care to New Yorkers and I promise to use every tool at my disposal to fight back against these assaults.”
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli:
"The tenacity and tireless work of Planned Parenthood members and partners have won reproductive justice victories here in New York state,” State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said. “All of us who support a woman's right to choose must stand together and fight against the continued attacks on health care funding and access, including Trump's gag rule. Today I renew my pledge to stand with Planned Parenthood and the women of New York."
New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie:
“For years, the Assembly Majority has championed legislation that would protect the reproductive rights of women in New York. We know that when women have control over their reproductive decisions, outcomes improve for everyone. I am incredibly grateful for the tireless efforts of the bill sponsors Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, Kevin Cahill and Ellen Jaffee for helping bring these bills to the finish line. We are also thankful that under the leadership of Andrea Stewart-Cousins, our new partnership with Senate Democrats has allowed these bills to finally reach the governor’s desk. And of course, none of this would be possible without the unwavering commitment of the advocates. It is a new day for women in New York.”
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins:
"The Senate Democratic Majority acted swiftly to protect women's rights by passing the historic Reproductive Health Act, as well as other pro-women bills, earlier this Legislative Session. With women's rights under threat from the Trump Administration, New York State must continue to step up and lead the nation on this critical issue. I will continue to work with my colleagues in government and my partner in the State Legislature, Speaker Carl Heastie, as well as important advocates like Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts to ensure women's rights are protected and respected."
Dr. Meera Shah, Associate Medical Director, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic:
“I’m an abortion provider because I trust my patients. My patients come from all different walks of life and have unique life experiences that bring them to the decision to have an abortion. It is not my job to judge them. It is my job to support them, honor, and respect them as human beings. The single parent of three who can’t make ends meet. The young person who wants to finish high school and go to college. The trans patient who found out he was pregnant and an abortion became lifesaving. Abortion care is health care. Period. Abortion care, and all aspects of reproductive health care, affects all people of all gender identities. I applaud the state of New York for passing the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act. I’m proud to be practicing in a state that values access to health care. I hope our state will continue to improve access and to be an example to other states.”
Amanda Lee, Health Educator, Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes:
"I'm so incredibly proud to be working for Planned Parenthood, the nation's leading provider of sex and sexuality education. Sex education has many different definitions, but the most popular definition is that sex ed is only teaching about anatomy, condoms, and STIs, which is simply limiting and harmful. We sex educators at Planned Parenthood believe in sex education that gives youth the knowledge and power to unapologetically take control of their bodies, feel unabashed consensual pleasure, and to be accepted for who they are and who they love. Sex education is empowering, it saves lives, it's a necessity. And sex education isn't going anywhere."
Caileigh Scott, Patient and Advocate:
“Planned Parenthood has always been there for me with the quality, compassionate care I need to live a healthy life. I'm proud to choose Planned Parenthood as my health care provider and their doors are open for everyone. If you have questions or need immediate care, I urge you to check out your local Planned Parenthood health center.”
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