In the past few years we’ve seen reproductive rights be questioned and the threat to repeal Roe v. Wade has never been more present. However, New York is on the verge of a huge win for reproductive justice. The New York State Legislature is set to pass the Reproductive Health Act on Tuesday January 22.
The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) would codify the basic foundations of Roe v. Wade into the legislature of the State of New York. This would be a protection for reproductive health in case the Supreme Court overturns Roe.
The legislature of New York was written in 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade. This means that abortion access and other reproductive health access is not protected by the state.
This win will come after several threats from the GOP, and the new Supreme Court Judge Kavanaugh to repeal reproductive rights and block access to abortion. This will also ensure that organizations that promote reproductive health such as Planned Parenthood will be supported by the State.
Governor Andrew Cuomo was joined by Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and other legislators of the state on New York on Monday, January 7 and vowed to pass the Reproductive Health Act as well as promising to advance the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act.
“Having a right on paper doesn’t mean you can exercise it in practice,” said Clinton.
Clinton mentioned the importance of promoting women’s equality, and New York’s role as a progressive State that will serve as an example on improving women’s rights and access to reproductive health for all.
“Women’s ability to get basic healthcare, our right to make the most deeply personal decisions, is facing the most significant threats in recent memory. This administration has rolled back access to reproductive health services at home and around the world. (…)And, even in places like New York, which is home to some of the leading healthcare institutions of the world, we are in the midst of an epidemic of maternal mortality. Which disproportionally affects black women,” said Clinton.
This act is set to reduce the rates of unintended and teen pregnancy. And, create access to health services for communities most affected by reproductive health issues such as women of color and queer people of color.
We also need to remember that this win is because of thousands of activists and legislators that push for access to reproductive health services in their own communities. Particularly, of those who are affected by lack of financial support for their work. And, because of organizations that uplift the voices of those who have experienced violations to their reproductive rights and are now fighting to protect them for everyone else.1
Also published on Medium.