Residents of Albany, Columbia, Greene and Rensselaer Counties Join in Lobbying Effort
Fifty people from Albany, Columbia, Greene and Rensselaer counties joined four hundred advocates from around New York State at the Capitol today for a Day of Action focused on preserving access to affordable family planning services, expanding the provision of comprehensive, medically accurate sex education, and passing the Reproductive Health Act. The statewide lobby day is coordinated by Family Planning Advocates of New York State and attracts supporters of reproductive health and justice from New York City to Albany to Plattsburgh and west to Buffalo.
" We are proud and excited to see the large number of local residents who have taken time from jobs and home responsibilities to carry a message to their legislators today, " said Patricia McGeown, President/CEO of Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. "They include men and women, grandparents and teachers, students and volunteers, medical staff and community activists who are all frankly angry and frustrated by the onslaught of attacks on Planned Parenthood and women's health. "
Participants will urge legislators to pass the Reproductive Health Act. The legislation would ensure that a woman will be able to have an abortion if her health is endangered. It also guarantees that all New Yorkers will have the right to choose or refuse contraception and changes current law so that regulation of abortion is no longer in the criminal law but is in the public health and medical practice section of the law.
According to McGeown, seven out of 10 New Yorkers want the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) passed because it guarantees that all women in New York will have the right to make decisions about pregnancy, including the right to choose or refuse contraception and to have an abortion. "It is past time," said McGeown, "for state legislators to update our laws to reflect and protect this position."
Activists will also ask legislators to continue needed funding for family planning services. GYN exams, birth control, cancer prevention screenings and other reproductive health care services, are essential preventive services that they believe must remain accessible and affordable. The family planning network of providers in New York State, including Planned Parenthood health centers, have been particularly effective at providing these services to people most in need, but these providers rely on state funding to keep services affordable.
Thalia Cassuto, of Chatham, is one of the many Capital Region residents who will be at the Capitol on Monday. "Women's health care is integral to flourishing families," said Cassuto when asked her motivations for participation. "It's in danger in many states and under fire even here in New York. I'm here to speak for continuing state aid for cancer screenings and contraception, and for a law that will protect a woman's ability to decide for herself how to proceed when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
Blue Carreker, 518-434-5678
January 09, 2012