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When the U.S. Supreme Court erased decades of precedent last summer by taking away our constitutional right to abortion, they essentially stole our power to make our own personal medical decisions and handed that power to state lawmakers. To date, politicians in 18 states have banned or severely restricted access to abortion.  

Here in New York, voters reclaimed their power at the polls and proudly elected champions of health care equity who vow to protect and advance our access to sexual and reproductive health services, abortion care, and sexual health education. With a new state legislative session in full swing, it is time to stand shoulder to shoulder with reproductive rights champions in Albany, and at all levels of government, to pass legislation that will create a more equitable future for all New Yorkers. 

Here’s what you need to know about our top priorities for the 2023 legislative session: 

Equal Rights Amendment

Did you know the New York State Constitution is extremely limited in protections against discrimination?  The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) will amend our Constitution to protect you against discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin (including undocumented folks), disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex - including pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes such as abortion or miscarriage.  

The ERA provides the framework to protect the rights of marginalized New Yorkers, especially the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, women, individuals with disabilities, Black, Indigenous, and Latine individuals, birthing people, and folks who seek abortions.   

Budget Asks

New York State must make bold investments in abortion access by increasing funding for the Family Planning Grant, which will include services like birth control pills and condoms, emergency contraception, and advice about family planning for low-income New York families who couldn’t otherwise afford these services. 

The State must also enact the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program – legislation that would create a sustained funding mechanism through the NYS Department of Health, to provide grants to support the operational and programmatic needs of abortion providers and abortion funds – to ensure they can address the growing demands for care in New York State. 

Sex Education

Sexual and relationship education empowers young people to become healthy, responsible adults, but New York lacks a statewide comprehensive sexual education program. Age-appropriate sexual and relationship education teaches young people about bodily autonomy, gender, gender expression, and sexual orientation and encourages them to form healthy relationships and make informed decisions. Statewide comprehensive sexual education would provide age-appropriate, medically accurate learning for grades K to 12.  

Black Mortality Rate and Doula Services

The rates of maternal mortality in this country are unacceptably high. Black mothers are four times more likely to die due to pregnancy-related complications than white mothers. Recent reports estimate that 84% of maternal deaths are preventable. This is the moment to use our constituent power to keep them from happening. By increasing funding for birth and abortion doulas, guaranteeing insurance coverage for birth-related medical needs, and ensuring pregnant people have the option to give birth in a supportive environment of their choosing, we can save millions of lives.  

Gender-Affirming Care

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender non-conforming New Yorkers often face barriers to health care, including discrimination, lack of insurance coverage, provider insensitivity, and lack of awareness of available resources. We support efforts to fight discrimination and improve health care equity, especially for the New York transgender community who seek gender-affirming hormone therapy and compassionate, inclusive health care.  

Tags: Legislative, New York, Budget, gender_affirming_care, Equal Rights Amendment, Black_Mortality_Rate, Doula_Services, Legislative_Agenda, Sex_Education

Together, we’ll continue fighting with everything we've got to make sure everyone has access to the sexual and reproductive health care they need to control their body, their life, and their future — no matter where they live.

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