August 12, 2022
Video available at: https://youtu.be/qfheqdn5t3E
In Wake of Dobbs Decision, Six NYC Bills Will Expand Abortion Access, Protect Reproductive Health Care, Increase Public Health Education to Fight Disinformation on Abortion
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today signed historic legislation to protect access to safe and affordable abortions in New York City. Coming on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that effectively overturned Roe v. Wade, these six bills will strengthen abortion protections, make medication abortion free at all New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) clinics, and improve public health education so every New Yorker and person visiting New York City for reproductive health care knows their rights and their options for receiving care. The passage and signing of these bills underscore the city’s commitment to protecting the bodily autonomy of women in New York and outsiders seeking reproductive asylum here in the city.
“The Dobbs decision was about nothing more than controlling people’s bodies, their choices, and their freedoms, but we are not going to leave our sisters or others behind,” said Mayor Adams. “Abortion is health care, and, with the signing of these six bills into law, the nation will know that New York City will always defend the right for all people to access an abortion. Safe, legal abortion care is the cornerstone of public health in our city, and our goals are and will remain to ensure that young women will not come of age with fewer rights than their parents. Reproductive freedom and abortions will always be protected in New York City no matter what any activist court with a clear political agenda rules. I, and those here in New York City and across the country, are grateful to the City Council for passing these bills and getting this important work done.”
“In New York City, we stand in defense of abortion and reproductive rights,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “These are critical services that must remain accessible and available to every person that needs them. Abortion is health care and a lack of access to reproductive health care is a public health issue.”
“Abortion is health care, and health care is a human right,” said DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “With these bills, New York City will again play a historic role as a national leader for abortion services and reproductive justice. I thank the Council for taking action to protect and expand access to safe abortions.”
“Reproductive health care is a fundamental right, and these bills will ensure that our patients are protected under the law, no matter what path they choose,” said Dr. Machelle Allen, senior vice president and chief medical officer, NYC Health + Hospitals. “NYC Health + Hospitals provides abortion care, both medical and procedural, and we are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment. I want to thank Mayor Adams and the speaker for their unwavering support to our providers, patients, and their families.”
With the implementation of these bills, New York City is strengthening abortion protections, expanding access to safe abortion, and raising public awareness about women’s rights and the options for those seeking abortions in New York:
Int. 465-A requires DOHMH to annually report the number of births and abortions provided in the city each year both for individuals who were residents of New York City at the time of such birth or abortion and for those who were not residents. DOHMH will also be required to assess the ability of licensed medical providers in the city to provide reproductive health care, identify any challenges faced by licensed medical providers to provide reproductive health care, and make recommendations for increasing the capacity of such providers to provide reproductive health care.
Int. 466-A prohibits city agencies from using city resources — including, but not limited to, time spent by employees and the use of city property — to detain persons for performing or aiding with abortions or to cooperate with out-of-state entities related to abortions performed in New York state.
Int. 474-A requires the city to conduct a public education program to inform the public about the protections available to people and providers accessing reproductive health care facilities. It also requires the city provide information about the protections available in the city Human Rights Law (HRL) related to reproductive health decisions and stopping discriminatory harassment. The public education program will also provide information about a person’s right to bring a civil action for violating the HRL or accessing the reproductive health care facilities law, as well as how to access resources to find comprehensive reproductive health care and privacy protections for people accessing reproductive health care.
Int. 475-A creates a private right of action for interference with reproductive or endocrine medical care.
Int. 506-A requires the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection to implement an outreach and education campaign on facilities that deceptively advertise or are otherwise misleading when offering reproductive health services.
Int. 507-A requires DOHMH to provide access to U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medicine for medication abortions, at no cost to patients, at health clinics operated by DOHMH. DOHMH would provide such medication to patients who seek to terminate their pregnancy, when the use of such medication is indicated and in accordance with the medically reasonable and good faith professional judgment of such patients’ medical providers. DOHMH would also provide counseling and timely referrals to other health facilities and qualified family planning providers, if needed, for other services.
“The NYC Abortion Rights Act is a monumental legislative package that sends a clear message that New York City is a safe haven for abortion and reproductive care,” said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “These critical bills, championed by the first women-majority Council in our city’s history, will support and protect both New Yorkers and people coming to our city to seek the care they need. As states across the country restrict access to safe and affordable abortion care, our city is demonstrating national leadership and setting the example for others to follow.”
“At a time in which access to abortion care in our country has been stripped away by the Supreme Court, it is important now more than ever to ensure women and birthing individuals are fully aware of the reproductive services that are available to them,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson. “Crisis Pregnancy Centers are deceptive and can cause detrimental harm to the well-being of a person seeking abortion services in our city, and it is important we take immediate action to address the issue. I want to applaud Mayor Adams for signing into law Intro 506-A and Speaker Adrienne Adams, Councilmember Carlina Rivera, the Women’s Caucus, and members of the New York City Council for their work to increase transparency around so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers in our city and ensure that birthing individuals receive culturally competent and affirming reproductive care.”
“As the Supreme Court and the right wing nationwide look to eviscerate abortion rights, it’s never been more important to support and expand equitable access to abortion care here in New York City — for both residents of the five boroughs and those from beyond our borders. This critical package of bills does just that,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Here in Queens, we will always unequivocally and unapologetically stand up for the fundamental human right to an abortion, and I commend our partners in government and advocacy alike for taking immediate action to protect that right.”
“New York City Council has responded forcefully to the Supreme Court’s attack on access to safe abortions and reproductive health and is unequivocal in its commitment to protecting women and birthing people,” said New York City Councilmember Gale A. Brewer. “The NYC Abortion Rights Act will safeguard access to reproductive health care, and I commend Mayor Adams for signing these bills into law.”
“I can’t tell you how proud I feel today, watching as, for the first time, legislation my office introduced is signed into law,” said New York City Councilmember Tiffany Cabán. “As gratifying as this victory is, I want to be very clear about one thing: The far-right wing’s victory at the Supreme Court is not going to signal the end of their fight to destroy our bodily autonomy, so we can’t let this victory today signal the end of our fight to secure it. For poor and working-class communities, especially our Black and Brown neighbors, friends, and families, reproductive justice goes beyond merely the right to abortion care. For us, it means the right to have and raise our families the way we want. Family separation affected by the state is a reproductive issue. Housing and food insecurity are reproductive issues. Denial of health care, child care, and parental and sick leave are reproductive issues. We must fight for all these as hard as we fight for abortion rights. Today, I feel immense optimism for those fights.”
“The world has its eyes on New York City, and signing these bills into law sets the example and tone for cities across America on how to protect the lives of women and all people capable of pregnancy,” said New York City Councilmember Amanda Farías, co-chair, Women’s Caucus. “These bills focus on protection through prohibitions against restrictions and interference with medical care, increased services, and codifies New York City’s role as a sanctuary city for abortion care. New York City has historically been a safe haven for many groups of people who are discriminated against in other parts of the country and even the world, and with this new legislation we are continuing that legacy. We got here through the work of women leading. This bill package is a direct result of the women-majority leadership in the Council that is prioritizing lifesaving, inclusive policies. Thank you, Mayor Eric Adams, for your leadership and swift action to signing these into law. I look forward to continuing to work together toward equity in health care for all.”
“The package of bills signed into law today is a message to all people that if you need an abortion, New York City is here to help. Our city will always be a refuge for anyone who needs access to safe and legal abortions,” said New York City Councilmember Shahana Hanif. “I’m thrilled that the mayor has signed my bill into law to ensure all New Yorkers understand their rights to unencumbered access to safe and legal reproductive healthcare. Additionally, our city will now provide anyone who obtains an abortion in New York City with the necessary legal tools to protect their rights. This new private right to action is a critical protection that will ensure anyone who seeks reproductive care in our city can fight back against harmful anti-choice witch hunts. I’m proud of the work of this council and of the work of our colleagues in Albany to ensure abortion rights are protected, but we must not forget that the federal government still needs to act to protect the rights of millions across the country. The time for bold action is now.”
“This legislation affirms that reproductive health care will be protected for all New Yorkers and anyone who seeks this type of care in our city — full stop,” said New York City Councilmember Kamillah Hanks. “As women nationwide are feeling the swift impacts of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, it is more critical than ever to emphasize that bodily autonomy, safe abortion access, and education on reproductive rights are the law of the land in New York City.”
“A woman’s right to choose is a fundamental freedom. For centuries in America, women did not have control over their bodies,” said New York City Councilmember Rita Joseph. “Now, reactionary forces are trying to bring us back to the dark days of desperate women getting dangerous, illegal abortions in back alleys. My colleagues and I refused to allow that to happen, which is why, today, the city is protecting a woman’s right to choose. I thank my colleagues in the Women’s Caucus, Speaker Adams, the bills’ sponsors, the mayor, and the incredible coalition of allies that made passing these bills possible.”
“In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse nearly 50 years of precedent protecting a woman’s personal freedom, we are already beginning to see the disastrous effects of abortion bans across the country,” said New York City Councilmember Linda Lee. “I am proud to be a part of the first-ever women-majority City Council that has fought to strengthen access to abortion and the right to choose for all women. I applaud the leadership of my colleagues in the Women’s Caucus, Speaker Adrienne Adams, and Mayor Eric Adams for working collectively to curate and sign this legislative package that ensures New York City’s commitment to public health education and every woman’s innate right to body autonomy.”
“We must fight the far-right extremist agenda by making abortion accessible and affordable,” said New York City Councilmember Farah Louis. “I applaud my colleagues and Mayor Adams for making health care and reproductive freedom a priority for New Yorkers. This is a right our great city will always protect.”
“The City of New York is leading the fight to protect reproductive rights and to prepare New York City for the next wave of individuals needing reproductive health services,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin. “In the wake of Roe v. Wade being struck down, this package of legislation signed by Mayor Eric Adams will expand and increase access to abortions and essential outreach and services for New Yorkers in need.”
“This historic set of bills could only be prioritized and delivered by our historic majority-women City Council,” said New York City Councilmember Sandy Nurse. “Our basic bodily autonomy is being threatened, and our reproductive rights are rapidly being gutted. New York City will, again, lead this country in protecting human rights, securing the rights of women and gender expansive people. Thank you to the women of the Council who are leading us through a dark period in history. We will keep fighting like hell to ensure we don’t go backwards.”
“In the aftermath of Roe v. Wade’sdestruction, New York City must remain a safe haven for easy, equitable abortion access and reproductive care,” said New York City Councilmember Keith Powers. “The bills passed today by the City Council and Speaker Adams, and signed into law by Mayor Adams, will do just that by ensuring robust protections over women’s health care. Moving forward, New York City is committed to being a leader on pro-choice legislation and abortion care.”
“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, local governments need to fight like hell to secure safe, legal, and easily accessible abortion care for everyone. That’s why I want to thank the mayor for signing my bills into law, which would not be possible without the partnership of unwavering advocates for reproductive justice,” said New York City Councilmember Carlina Rivera. “Intro 506 will create a critical citywide education campaign to inform New Yorkers on the predatory practices of crisis pregnancy centers. And Intro 507 will guarantee free access to a medication abortion at all city-run health clinics. New York has a long history of championing abortion access, and, today, these bills will strengthen this living legacy.”
“With the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the autonomy of our bodies and our access to a safe and legal abortion is in danger across this country,” said New York City Councilmember Lynn Schulman, chair, Committee on Health. “The bills being signed today will protect the rights of pregnant people everywhere. Representation matters, and that’s why I want to thank the first female-majority-led City Council for swift passage of this historic body of legislation. I also want to thank Mayor Adams for his unwavering support of reproductive justice for all New Yorkers.”
“As we continue to experience disparities in women’s reproductive health across the country and in New York City, we must ensure that we maintain access to safe, affordable, and equitable abortion access,” said New York City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez. “This critical legislative package allows people to make decisions that directly impact their health and well-being, particularly reproductive care. The more education and awareness are generated around women’s reproductive care, the more it will allow for safer medical practices across all populations. We must continue to serve everyone from the marginalized to those with the most access.”
“As a society, we must continue working toward protecting women’s reproductive rights and their right to choose. I believe that it is important for everyone to be able to make informed decisions about their own bodies and have access to their health care needs. With the official overturning of Roe v. Wade, we can see firsthand the attack on reproductive freedom,” said New York City Councilmember Nantasha Williams. “These pieces of legislation are an important step forward in protecting access to abortion care for women living in New York City. I would like to thank my colleagues who sponsored these bills and passed them under the leadership of Speaker Adrienne Adams. I also want to thank Mayor Eric Adams for signing this crucial legislative package into law.”