New Senate Democratic Majority passes long-blocked Reproductive Health Act, Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act and Boss Bill.
(Albany, NY) The Senate Majority today passed a series of historic legislation that will protect and ensure New York women’s health rights. Passed on the 46thanniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) will codify that decision into New York law and modernize New York’s statutes to protect women’s rights. The Senate Majority also passed the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA) that will ensure insurance companies cover FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices and products. Additionally, the Boss Bill that passed will prevent an employer’s religious beliefs from infringing on women’s health care decisions. The Senate Majority, together with the Assembly Majority, passed these three important bills through the Legislature swiftly to ensure New York State again becomes a leader in the fight to protect and expand women’s rights.
“New York once led the way on choice and women’s rights. Unfortunately for years barriers to women’s rights were put up, and our state has fallen behind,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “Today, we are tearing those barriers down and we are now leading the way again. I commend my colleague Speaker Heastie, the Senate and Assembly bill sponsors, and the Senate and Assembly Majorities for taking historic action and leading New York State forward in the fight for women’s rights. It is time for New York to again serve as a progressive beacon to the nation.”
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “The Assembly Majority has long been a champion of women’s reproductive rights. These bills will ensure New Yorkers can control their family planning decisions, have access to the reproductive healthcare they need and will not be discriminated against for their choices. While the administration in Washington continues its assault on women’s reproductive rights, the Assembly Majority remains dedicated to fighting for a woman’s right to choose. With our new partners in the Senate, we look forward to finally seeing this legislation pass both houses and signed into law on the anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade decision.”
Reproductive Health Act sponsor, Senator Liz Krueger said, “The decision about whether to have an abortion is deeply personal. It involves a complex weighing of a woman’s unique circumstances, her medical needs, her private morality, and her own body. That is why it is a decision that must be made by a woman and her healthcare provider alone – not by the government. Our abortion laws, once groundbreaking, are now almost fifty years old. They do not meet the standard set by Roe v. Wade, and they do not reflect modern medical practice. We will never know how many New York women have suffered and even died because our outdated laws prevented them from getting the care they desperately needed. Today we turn the page. By enacting the RHA, the CCCA, and the Boss Bill, New York will once again lead the nation on women’s reproductive healthcare, and help ensure that all New Yorkers have the freedom and opportunity to make their own decisions about their health and their families.”
Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act sponsor, Senator Julia Salazar said, “The CCCA ensures that more New Yorkers will be empowered to make informed decisions regarding their reproductive health without having to worry about the cost or whether they will have access to a full range of contraceptive options. I am proud to have sponsored this legislation in the Senate and to advocate for securing women’s rights through the RHA and CCCA.”
Boss Bill sponsor, Senator Jen Metzger said, “I am proud to sponsor the Boss Bill and co-sponsor the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) and Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act (CCCA), which together provide essential protections for women’s health and guarantee their fundamental right to make reproductive choices that are best for them and their families. With threats to these basic protections at the federal level, it is all the more important that we pass this legislation to protect New Yorkers. Governments and employers should not dictate an individual’s options or punish their healthcare decisions.”
The historic legislation passed by the Senate Democratic Majority includes:
- Reproductive Health Act: This bill, S.240, introduced by Senator Krueger, will modernize New York’s nearly 50-year-old statutes regarding abortion and ensure that New York State law treats abortion as health care, not a criminal act. The Assembly has passed this version of the RHA in 2017 and 2018.
- Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act: This bill, S.659-A, introduced by Senator Julia Salazar, will require health insurance companies to include coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptive options, as well as contraceptive counseling, and services. The Assembly first passed this legislation in 2015.
- Boss Bill: This bill, S.660, introduced by Senator Jen Metzger, will ensure that employees or their dependents are able to make their own reproductive health care decisions without incurring adverse employment consequences. The Assembly has passed it each year since 2014.
Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris said, “Protecting women’s health choices empowers New Yorkers to plan families and make the right medical decisions for them. I am proud to support these proposals and am honored to be part of the new New York Senate that is enacting these bills.”
Senator David Carlucci said, “The stakes are high for our daughters, wives, and mothers. We must protect women’s reproductive health rights in New York because they are under attack by the federal government. By codifying Roe v. Wade, decriminalizing abortion, and ensuring a woman’s access to contraception, we are empowering women to make their own choices about their medical care and family planning.”