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The following letter to the editor was published in the Long Island Herald.


Dear Editor:


Last week, President Trump passed a ruling allowing ANY employer, regardless of whether or not they are religiously-affiliated, to deny employees coverage of birth control because they claim a religious or moral objection. Adding outrageous insult to egregious injury, yesterday the President signed an executive order further allowing health plans to exclude birth control coverage, increase out-of-pocket costs, and chip away at basic health care benefits — including maternity coverage. Both these actions take direct aim at the health care of millions of women nationwide, and hundreds of thousands right here in Nassau County.


As a woman who once relied on birth control, as the mother of two, and as the leader of an organization that provides contraceptive care to thousands of patients in our health centers every year, I understand deeply how integral access to birth control is to one’s reproductive health and economic stability: being able to get and afford birth control enables women to plan their pregnancies, take care of the children they already have, and advance in education and careers.


The appalling actions taken by this administration in the last week, alone, represent one more despicable transgression in a series of actions that aim to erode women’s autonomy over their bodies, reproductive decisions, and economic strength. Public Health experts agree, our New York State Governor agrees, and the majority of Americans agree — women’s rights are human rights. And those rights include access to — and coverage of — birth control.


JoAnn D. Smith

President and CEO,

Planned Parenthood of Nassau County