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Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts (PPESA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization formed by the Planned Parenthood affiliates of New York State.  PPESA engages in educational and electoral activity including voter education campaigns, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy. 

Please indicate your response to each question by clicking the appropriate box. If you would like additional information or have questions that you would like answered before completing this questionnaire, contact Kristen Dart by phone at 518.436.8408 or by e-mail at [email protected]

Your responses to this questionnaire will be used to inform PPESA’s online Reproductive Health Care scorecard, which will be available on a rolling basis at www.PPESActs.org. The rating scale 
(0-100%) will educate voters about both incumbent and non-incumbent candidates’ positions on issues affecting Planned Parenthood health care providers and their ability to serve New Yorkers. 

Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts’ Message for Candidates:
Planned Parenthood believes in ensuring that people have access to the reproductive and sexual health care services they need.  We believe that every individual — regardless of income, age, race, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, or marital status — has the fundamental right to decide when and whether to be a parent and to access non-judgmental, confidential health care.  It is the government’s role to support personal childbearing decisions by ensuring adequate access to preventive health care services, including birth control and sexual health information, as well as access to quality prenatal care and safe, legal abortion. In the face of unprecedented attacks on our mission and reproductive health, Planned Parenthood stands firm in our commitment to protecting and expanding reproductive care here in New York and nationally. Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts defines support of our mission to include consistent voting records and public leadership in opposition to attempts to roll back access to sexual and reproductive health care and health equity.

2020 Reproductive Health Care Questionnaire

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Funding For Reproductive and Sexual Health

1. Do you support efforts to protect federal, state, and local funding for Planned Parenthood? *

National attacks on Planned Parenthood’s funding could jeopardize the ability of Planned Parenthood patients to access essential health care locally. Each year more than 187,000 New Yorkers rely on Planned Parenthoods across New York State for sexual and reproductive health care services, including birth control, gynecological care, HIV testing, and STI testing and treatment. Planned Parenthood health centers provide care no matter what and are dependent on local and federal funding as well as private donations to serve all New Yorkers regardless of insurance, immigration status, or income. No one is turned away if they cannot pay. Extreme politicians are attempting to defund and shut down Planned Parenthood health centers, which would deny millions of people across the country, access to the birth control, cancer screenings, STI and HIV testing and treatment and other care they rely on. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading reproductive health care provider, and if these politicians succeed, it will be a national public health crisis. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that blocking patients from going to Planned Parenthood in Texas was associated with a 35% decline in women in publicly funded programs using the most effective methods of birth control and a dramatic 27% increase in births among women who had previously accessed contraception through those programs. Without Planned Parenthood, many patients would have nowhere else to go for care.

2. Do you support efforts to ensure public funding for family planning services? *

Affordable and accessible family planning services are essential to women's health, well-being, and economic stability. According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than sixty percent of the women who obtain care at a publicly-funded family planning health center consider it to be their primary source of health care. For four in 10 women, that center is their only source of health care. Investment in family planning provides vital health care services to New York families and long-term cost savings.

3. Do you support efforts to fund HIV supportive programming included in the End the Epidemic Blueprint, proposed by Governor Cuomo in 2014? *

Despite New York's gains in reducing rates of HIV, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is concentrated in low-income communities, and community-driven solutions are critical to providing holistic support for harder to reach populations. In 2015, the End the Epidemic Task Force released a set of recommendations to reduce the number of new HIV infections to 750 by 2020, and advance funding for sexual health education, housing benefits, and case management, which enable high risk individuals and people living with HIV to overcome obstacles to getting tested and increase linkages to HIV care.

Access To Abortion

4. Do you support an individual's right to obtain a safe, legal abortion? *

Planned Parenthood believes that individuals must make their own personal, private health care decisions, including the decision of whether or not to obtain confidential, safe, legal abortion care under the standards set forth in Roe v. Wade, and that in all cases individuals, their families, and their health care providers should be able to make decisions that protect the individual’s health.

5. Consistent with existing state and federal law, do you support the right of individuals to access the abortion method they and their physician deem safest for their health and needs? *
6. Do you support continued New York State Medicaid funding of abortion care for an individual who otherwise could not afford it? *

In 1976, the U.S. Congress, passed the Hyde Amendment for the first time, restricting the use of federal funds for abortion services except in the case of incest, rape, or the life of the woman. This ruling denies comprehensive reproductive health services to individuals who are on Medicaid or are federal employees or service members, whose insurance is paid for by the federal government. In contrast, New York is one of 17 states that cover abortion care for those in the Medicaid program, ensuring that one’s income does not stand in the way of access to care.

7. Do you oppose targeted restrictions on abortion access? *

Abortion opponents have long tried to erode access to abortion through bans on abortion procedures and other restrictions, including waiting periods, mandated parental involvement laws, funding prohibitions, and legislation that attempts to create separate legal rights for fetuses distinct from those of a pregnant individual.

8. Do you oppose attempts to undermine Roe v. Wade through legislation that creates separate legal rights for fetuses distinct from those of a pregnant individual? *

Access To Contraception

9. Do you support policies to expand access to contraception, such as requiring insurance companies to cover all federally approved contraceptive methods without a co-pay, and regardless of an employer's religious beliefs? *

The recent increase of attacks on contraceptive access at the Federal level could leave many unable to access the best method of contraceptive for them at an affordable rate. Legislation has been proposed in New York that would require insurers to cover: all FDA approved methods of contraception with no co-pay; emergency contraception accessed over the counter without a prescription and 12 months of contraception at one time. These simple fixes would greatly increase access and usage of contraception in New York, and make it much easier for individuals to avoid unintended pregnancy.

10. Do you support efforts to increase access to emergency contraception, including insurance coverage, for all New Yorkers? *

Emergency contraception (EC), also known as "the morning after pill” or Plan B, is a high-dose combination of oral contraceptives that, if taken within days of unprotected sex, can safely prevent a pregnancy from occurring. EC is FDA-approved for sale over-the-counter, without a prescription or age restrictions. However, New Yorkers still experience barriers when accessing this important contraceptive method, including misinformation about age and gender requirements.

Youth Education and Minors' Rights

11. Do you support implementing comprehensive, inclusive, age-appropriate, medically accurate, K-12 sexual health education in public schools? *

The need for comprehensive sexual health education for New York students is urgent. Rates of STDs have dramatically increased with two-thirds of all infections occurring among adolescents. The National Sexuality Education Standards call for comprehensive sexuality education to start in kindergarten and build up through 12th grade so that schools foster safe environments for all students early on. Comprehensive sexuality education includes teaching anatomy & physiology, puberty, pregnancy, STDs and HIV prevention and treatment, as well as the respect of others’ values and identities, positive body image, and healthy relationships and consent, including anti-bullying and partner violence measures. Research shows that comprehensive sexuality education is effective in helping young people make healthier decisions.

12. Do you support New York youth's ability to confidentially access sexual and reproductive health services, including safe, legal abortion? *

Planned Parenthood health centers strongly encourage teens to talk to their parents and/or caregivers about their sexual health. Unfortunately, not all youth have the support of parents or other trusted adults to have conversations about their sexual health needs and pregnancy. We know that minors’ health and safety is best protected by ensuring their confidential access to sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, disease prevention and treatment, and abortion care, and by enabling young people to safely talk with their healthcare provider about the care they need.

Access to Health Care Services

13. Do you support enforcing and strengthening laws to protect individuals' access to reproductive health clinics? *

Current federal and state laws protect patient and provider access to reproductive health care facilities. However, anti-reproductive health protesters continue to engage in activities that invade patients’ privacy, harass, intimidate patients and staff, and even cause physical harm. In April 2009, the New York City Council passed legislation to protect individuals’ access to reproductive health care centers by prohibiting activities that prevent access to reproductive health care centers. The law was cited in the 2014 Supreme Court decision, McCullen v. Coakley, as a model that balanced free speech with patient protection. However, despite regular reports of patient and staff harassment outside of clinics, New York City’s law has not been enforced. In the six years since the law’s enactment, there has not been a single arrest for its violation.

14. Do you support efforts to hold CPCs accountable for their deceptive tactics by requiring they disclose accurate information on the services they provide and those who provide them? *

Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) use deceptive practices to appeal to women experiencing unintended pregnancies, preventing women from accessing the care they need. CPCs represent themselves as reproductive health providers, yet the vast majority are volunteer-run and do not employ licensed medical professionals. CPCs discourage abortion and the use of birth control and often provide biased counseling and misleading and stigmatizing information. They are frequently located near legitimate reproductive health care providers and use deceptive tactics to interfere with individuals looking for accurate medical care.

15. Do you support efforts to improve health care equality for the transgender community and protect health care coverage for transgender-related services? *

New York’s Planned Parenthoods are proud to continue to expand their services to meet the needs of all New Yorkers, including hormone therapy for transgender New Yorkers. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers often face barriers to health care, including discrimination, lack of insurance coverage, provider insensitivity, and lack of available resources, including long wait times for care, making it harder for people to lead healthy and safe lives.

16. Do you support policies to ensure that incarcerated individuals have access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health care services? *

Incarcerated individuals face disproportionate health care disparities and are at high risk for specific health needs ranging from prenatal, reproductive, and postpartum conditions that could easily be cared for while in jail or prison. The Correctional Association of New York reported that incarcerated women face inadequate access to and delays in gynecological care, limited access to contraception, routine shackling during pregnancy, and insufficient access to sanitary napkin and toiletries.

17. Do you support New York protecting and expanding health insurance coverage to all immigrants regardless of immigration status? *

Planned Parenthood believes that one’s immigration status should not hinder access to healthcare services, yet New York's immigrant communities are excluded from many health insurance programs. New York has a responsibility to preserve its public health insurance coverage for everyone who is currently eligible and expand insurance programs with the goal of achieving universal coverage for all residents.

Equal Opportunity & Anti-Discrimination

18. Do you support legislation that would protect employees’ abilities to access reproductive health care services despite employers’ personal objections? *

Planned Parenthood knows that health care access is integrally connected to our ability to lead lives free from discrimination, violence, harassment, and economic inequity. We believe that all people deserve equal opportunities to a safe and healthy life for themselves and their families. The spate of nationwide challenges to the contraceptive coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have highlighted a troubling trend of employers attempting to use their personal beliefs as a basis for denying access to reproductive health care for their employees. Allowing employers to assert personal objections to health care services creates a slippery slope that can inhibit individuals’ abilities to access the care they and their families need.

19. Do you support policies to combat discrimination for gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans and gender non-conforming individuals in the workplace, public accommodation, and housing? *

New York State currently lacks legislative protections to protect against a person being fired, harassed, evicted or denied public services simply for being transgender or gender-non-conforming (TGNC). Without legal protections, lesbian, gay, bisexual (LGB) and TGNC workers face discrimination that makes it harder for them to find and keep a job and provide for their families. A report released by the Williams Institute at UCLA found that 47% of LGBT respondents have faced discrimination in hiring, promotion or job retention. And 26% of Latinx transgender individuals have been terminated from their jobs because of bias, according to a report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

20. Do you support a fair living wage for all New York workers, including tipped employees? *

A fair living wage is critical to our patient’s ability to shape their futures and care for their families. 65% of tipped workers are women, and 2/3 of servers live in poverty, often facing financial insecurity, discrimination, and high rates of sexual harassment on the job. The subminimum wage requires tipped restaurant workers to depend heavily on gratuities, forcing them to tolerate harassment to safeguard their income – as a result, more than 80% of New York’s tipped restaurant employees experienced unwanted sexual behaviors at work. New York recently made great strides in increasing the state's minimum wage, yet many workers across the state continue to be left out, including tipped workers.

Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts strongly encourages candidates to champion the women’s health issues above, as well as others not mentioned.

Below is a list of ways for candidates to champion Planned Parenthood, our patients, and our services, as well as maintain a 100% pro-reproductive rights voting record while in office.

Note that responses to the statements below are a means of gauging a candidate’s commitment to reproductive health issues and will not factor into the scorecard rating process.

Please check the boxes below that indicate your commitment to Planned Parenthood:

I will attend a Planned Parenthood function or event. I will visit and tour a Planned Parenthood health center.

I will speak with other elected officials and work to educate those who are reluctant to publicly support Planned Parenthood on comprehensive sexual and reproductive health issues.

If filled out online I certify that these answers are the candidate's views.