Tag women and choice

Victory for Reproductive Rights – Showing How Much We Need a Progressive Supreme Court


“Yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down Texas’s anti-choice law restricting access to abortion – in the sheep’s clothing of “safety” regulations –was an extraordinary victory for reproductive rights, patient autonomy, and the right to health care with regulations based on science rather than politics.

Texas is just one of many states engaging in right-wing attacks on reproductive health care. We must fight back against these attempts to politicize crucial health care services. Pro-choice supporters have a lot of work to do.

New York has long been a leader in protecting reproductive freedom. Our landmark protection of abortion enacted in 1970 helped provide the framework for the Roe v. Wade decision three years later, but we have our own battle here. The Assembly has passed the Reproductive Health Act to strengthen our law. But the State Senate did not pass it, reflecting the threat that reproductive freedom faces around the country.

Before yesterday’s decision was released, there was real fear that the decision could go the other way and open the door to horrendous state and federal restrictions on reproductive care. Yesterday’s victory should be a reminder that the U.S. Supreme Court could easily be turned in that direction by even one or two presidential appointments to the Court.

As Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, a key part of my job has always been – and will continue to be – to defend reproductive rights, patient autonomy, access to health care, and policies based on good science and public health principles. Our work together is not done.”

Statement of Support in Supreme Court Reproductive Freedom Case

I joined elected officials from around the country in signing an open letter of support for state legislators who shared their abortion stories in an amicus brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court in Whole Women’s Health v. Cole. The Center for Reproductive Rights is organizing the letter (see text below).


Four of our colleagues—the Honorable Wendy Davis of Texas, Teresa Fedor of Ohio, Lucy Flores of Nevada, and Judy Nicastro of Washington State—filed a friend-of-the-court brief on January 4, 2016, with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a lawsuit challenging provisions of Texas HB2, a sweeping law imposing numerous restrictions on access to abortion. In their brief, the current and former legislators bravely share their perspectives as women who made the decision to have an abortion. The brief is one of 45 friend-of-the-court briefs filed in the case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, that urge the Court to once again affirm longstanding precedent and uphold a woman’s constitutional right to access safe and legal abortion services.

Budget Season Photos

Photos credit – Assembly Photography

Opening remarks at VOCAL's HIV/AIDS Legislative Advocacy Day, with Senator Gustavo Rivera.

Opening remarks at VOCAL’s HIV/AIDS Legislative Advocacy Day, with Senator Gustavo Rivera.

Joint Conference Committee on Health meets on the budget

Joint Conference Committee on Health meets on the budget

More from the Joint Conference Committee, with Sen. Hannon (L), A/M Cahill (R), and A/M Raia (standing)

More from the Joint Conference Committee, with Sen. Hannon (L), A/M Cahill (R), and A/M Raia (standing)

Packing the stairs for the Share Better Coalition's rally against illegal hotels

Packing the stairs for the Share Better Coalition’s rally against illegal hotels

Speaker Heastie leads press conference before Assembly passage of Reproductive Health Act

Speaker Heastie leads press conference before Assembly passage of Reproductive Health Act

More budget conversations with Assembly Members Barron (L) and Titone (R)

Discussion with Assembly Members Barron (L) and Titone (R)

Speaking on the budget

Speaking on the budget

March Health Committee Update

Assembly Health Committee Update:
Reproductive Health Act Goes to the Assembly floor
Bill Would Make “Roe” State Law

The Assembly Committee on Health favorably reported 23 bills at its meetings on Tuesday, March 3 and Tuesday, March 24, including the Reproductive Health Act (RHA), sponsored by Assembly Member Deborah Glick.   The RHA aligns state public health law with existing federal law.

In practice, the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision has guaranteed abortion rights in New York since 1973.  However, while New York’s own state law is similar to the protections of Roe, there are some protections in Roe that would be lost if it were overturned.    The RHA codifies in state law the rights that Roe has provided since 1973.  “The right to reproductive freedom is a fundamental right.  New York State must strengthen reproductive health rights and respect women’s decisions,” said Assembly Health Committee chair Richard N. Gottfried, a co-sponsor of the bill.  The bill is expected to be passed by the Assembly on Wednesday, March 25.

Statement on Hobby Lobby Decision

“The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision is shameful. Your employer should have no say in your health care decisions, especially about reproductive care. Your pay check and your employment benefits are yours. The decision seems to be based on statutory interpretation, not a constitutional claim. So New York State’s long-standing law protecting insurance coverage for contraception is hopefully in good shape. BTW, if NY enacted my single-payer New York Health bill, only you and your health care provider would make health care decisions – not your insurance company, not your boss.”