(Buffalo, NY - June 17, 2010) Today, Assembly Member Deborah Glick introduced the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) (A.11484) in the New York State Assembly. This is another example of the Assembly’s strong pro-choice majority and its tradition of support for women’s reproductive health and justice. “Obviously, members of the Assembly and its leadership represent the values of the more than 70 percent of New Yorkers who support pro-choice policies,” said Planned Parenthood CEO, Karen J. Nelson.
“Bill sponsor Assembly Member Glick and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver understand that New York’s abortion law of 1970 is outdated and inadequate,” said Nelson. “And, they see the value in updating that law with the Reproductive Health Act, ensuring that when a woman faces a health problem during pregnancy, abortion will be an available option, if needed, to protect her health.”
Under New York law, women are able to access abortion when their life is in danger during pregnancy, but not if their health is endangered. Therefore, women and their health care providers have to rely on the tenets of Roe v. Wade to protect a pregnant women’s health, explained Nelson.
“With hundreds of pieces of anti-choice legislation being introduced in state legislatures around the country this year, Roe could face court challenges and be further chipped away, causing a serious setback to women’s health care in New York,” Nelson said.
Women can experience a host of complications during pregnancy and, sometimes, as a result of pregnancy, according to Nelson. These health threats include preeclampsia, stroke, infertility, placenta previa, kidney failure and more. Every situation is different and it is important that a woman’s health care provider is able to use his or her best medical judgment to make the determination if a pregnant woman’s health is at risk and help her decide the best course of treatment.
More than three quarters of New Yorkers support pro-choice policies in this state, having made New York a nationwide leader in access to comprehensive reproductive health care. “The Reproductive Health Act is the next necessary step to keeping women safe and healthy in New York,” Nelson asserted.
The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) will guarantee a woman's ability to make her own reproductive health decisions.
RHA ensures that a woman will be able to have an abortion if her health is endangered.
New York’s law does not contain an exception to protect a woman should the pregnancy pose a risk to her health. Our law only provides for abortion should a women’s life be endangered.
RHA also will regulate abortion care in public health law rather than in the criminal code.
“As a safe, legal medical procedure, the regulation of abortion must be removed from the penal code where it has been since before 1970 and into the public health code with every other medical practice,” said Nelson.
And, RHA will guarantee everyone the right to use or refuse contraception.
“This will prevent any mandatory imposition of contraception to the women of New York by regulation or judicial ruling,” Nelson explained.
In contrast to misinformation about the Reproductive Health Act, this measure will not force religiously affiliated hospitals or health care providers to provide abortion services. In fact, the bill specifically states: Nothing in this article shall be construed to conflict with any applicable state or federal law or regulation permitting a health care provider to refrain from providing abortions due to the provider’s religious or moral beliefs.
The Reproductive Health Act was introduced in the Senate (S.5808) during the 2009 legislative session. Planned Parenthood of Western New York is working with lawmakers in both houses to ensure this bill becomes law for the benefit of the state’s women and families.
Planned Parenthood of Western New York provides reproductive and family healthcare, promotes responsible and healthy sexuality, and protects choice. It has 6 health centers in the Western New York region, one teen after-school education center and a 36 foot mobile health care unit. It serves over 10,000 women and men with reproductive health care each year. Its Niagara County pediatric practice serves 3,500 children with primary care each year.