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Albany, 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 a great example of the Assembly’s tradition and understanding of the need for support of women’s reproductive health and justice. “It’s clear that members of the Assembly and its leadership represent the values of a majority of New Yorkers who support pro-choice policies,” said Planned Parenthood Mid-Hudson Valley President and CEO, Ruth-Ellen Blodgett.

“Bill sponsor Assembly Member Glick and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver understand that New York’s abortion law of 1970 is outdated and inadequate,” said Tiffany Card, Community Affairs Manager. “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.”

“We have seen hundreds of pieces of anti-choice legislation being introduced in state legislatures around the country this year. By passing RHA we hope to protect women’s health in New York,” Tiffany said.

Women can experience a host of complications during pregnancy and, sometimes, as a result of pregnancy. 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 let her decide the best course of treatment.

“The Reproductive Health Act is the next necessary step to keeping women safe and healthy in New York,” Ruth-Ellen 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.

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.

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.

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 Mid-Hudson Valley is working with lawmakers in both houses to ensure this bill becomes law for the benefit of the state’s women and families.