At PPHP, we have several legislative priorities that we are working on, and need your help. Below are some ways you can involved. If you have questions, please contact us at [email protected].
Increasing Funding for Reproductive and Sexual Health Care
In 2016, it was estimated that roughly 1.2 million low-income New Yorkers were in need of publicly funded primary reproductive and sexual health care services. This need is deepened by the fact that the pandemic has altered the economic and social realities of people’s lives – especially those who were already facing systemic barriers to care. A lack of access to primary and preventive reproductive health care impacts a person’s ability to shape their future in ways that fundamentally impact their health and economic security. The Comprehensive Family Planning and Reproductive Health Program facilitates access to a range of high-quality critical primary preventive reproductive and sexual health care services across New York State. Reproductive health care providers are not just entry point into the health care system, but often a primary provider of care as well.
However, these safety-net providers have been required to do more with less. For more than a decade, New York’s family planning grant has failed to see any growth, despite the presence of rising costs of delivering care and consistent community need. If the state were to have provided a 2.5% increase each year over the last 10 years, the program would have increased by approximately $7.8 million. This is the time to increase the state’s investment in this critical program and expand access to primary and preventive health care throughout NYS. The FY23 NYS budget must increase funding to reproductive and sexual health care providers by infusing, at minimum, an additional $7.8 million into the NYS family planning grant.
Closing the Post-Pregnancy Medicaid Coverage Gap
New York currently extends the Medicaid special eligibility for pregnant people to just 60-days post-pregnancy, meaning that a person’s affordable health coverage may end before the threat of maternal mortality does. One-in-three pregnancy-related deaths occur between one week and one year after pregnancy. The risk of pregnancy-related death for Black women is more than three times that of white women, and in New York City, that rate hurtles to twelve times – a glaring and disturbing disparity caused by racism. Extending Medicaid coverage beyond 60 days post-pregnancy has been endorsed by more than 275 national and statewide organizations, including the NYS Expert Panel on Postpartum Care. New York must pass A.307- Gottfried/S.1411-Rivera to ensure continuous Medicaid coverage by extending eligibility from 60-days to 1-year post-pregnancy.
Guaranteeing Coverage of Abortion Care
The right to abortion is meaningless without the ability to access care. As with any health care service, insurance coverage enables access. New York is one of 16 states that covers abortion care with state funds in our Medicaid program. In 2017, state regulations strengthened insurance coverage of abortion care, ensuring New Yorkers had affordable access. We must build upon these policies and put in our state law a requirement for insurers to cover abortion care. This bill (A.7573-González- Rojas/S.7002-Brouk) would require insurance coverage for abortion, creating parity between types of pregnancy-related care.
Strengthening Access to and Coverage of Virtual Care
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated widespread adoption and utilization of telehealth and has forever changed the way we access care. Much of this growth was possible because of federal and state actions that loosened restrictive policies that burdened providers and established requirements that insurers pay providers for care as if it were delivered in person. Despite these important steps, access to virtual care is far from universal. Both urban and rural communities alike face barriers to reliable and affordable internet and devices that will enable them to connect virtually to a health care provider. New York must pursue policies and investments that break down these barriers, and ensure providers have the ability to sustainably deliver patient-centered virtual care to all who need it. Failure to do so will deepen existing inequities, disproportionately impacting communities who have for far too long faced systemic barriers to care that have threatened their health and well-being. PPHP supports legislative initiatives that will advance equitable and affordable access to telehealth including A.8079-Woerner, which will expand coverage of asynchronous telehealth technology to meet patients where they are; payment parity between delivery of health care services via telehealth and in-person (A.6256- Woerner/S.5505-S.5505-Rivera); and efforts to address access to affordable and reliable broadband.
Abortion Access Fund
Since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, anti-abortion state legislators across the country have enacted 1,300 abortion restrictions designed to keep abortion inaccessible. If Roe falls this year, 26 states are likely or certain to ban abortion, and New York will become more of a destination state than it already is. Abortion funds have long known that legality alone has never been enough to secure real access to abortion. PPHP supports legislation (A.1926-Reyes/S.758-Biaggi) that would establish an Abortion Access Fund and permit taxpayers to voluntarily contribute to it on their state income tax return form. The money raised would be distributed to nonprofit organizations providing logistical and financial support to individuals who find access to abortion care out of reach. More so now than ever, New York has a role and responsibility to expand access to this fundamental right and health care service.
Advancing an Equality Amendment
For decades, brilliant legal minds and fierce advocates have fought for a vision of equality for all – challenging the ways in which antiquated notions of gender and racial bias show up in our everyday lives. The state and federal Constitutions are the foundational documents that protect our fundamental rights. We must fight to ensure they reflect and truly protect all of us – and for that to occur they need to be amended. PPHP supports legislation (S.1268-Krueger) that will amend our state constitution to ensure it can effectively dismantle the overt and insidious ways systems and institutions foster discrimination here in New York.
Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) (A.6616-Nolan/S.2584-Brouk)
The inclusion of comprehensive, medically accurate, culturally, age, and developmentally appropriate sexuality education (CSE) in publicly funded K-12 schools statewide.
Explore the Impact of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers
Anti-abortion pregnancy centers often masquerade as full-service health centers, while offering individuals limited services such as free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and biased counseling. Anecdotal evidence suggests their main intent is to persuade individuals not to seek abortion care. These actions can be deeply stigmatizing and impact access to timely reproductive health care. PPHP supports legislation (S.470-Hoylman/A.5499-Glick) that would advance a study of Limited Service Pregnancy Centers in our state to understand how they function and impact access to comprehensive reproductive health care.
Addressing the Reproductive Health and Rights of Incarcerated People
Every individual has a right to be treated with dignity and to have the necessary resources and supports that enable them to truly exercise agency in their reproductive decision making. However, we live in a society where these fundamental rights are constrained by conditioned beliefs as to who is deserving of, or entitled to, this respect and treatment under the law. These dynamics are even more pronounced in the criminal law system. Inherently, incarceration undermines reproductive autonomy. This is distinctly true for Black women and women of color, whose lives lie in the intersections of identities that are devalued and forced to exist within systems of oppression. PPHP supports legislation (A.211-Rosenthal/S.401-Biaggi) that will require NYS correctional facilities to provide access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care services.
Advancing Voting Protections and Reforms
The ability to preserve and expand access to reproductive rights and dismantle oppression rests on the right to vote. Conducting elections in 2020 during the pandemic put a spotlight on deficiencies in New York state’s election system. It is critical that along with the right to vote, voters have access to the ballot. PPHP will support legislation that ensures the right to vote and access to the ballot through modernization of New York’s election system.