Developing women’s health and rights

Last year was the worst since 1973 for abortion rights and access. On this 49th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade and the third anniversary of New York’s passage of the Reproductive Health Act, who modernized state abortion laws, this country is besieged by a vocal minority bent on limiting your reproductive health and rights.

In 2022, the abortion landscape in this country is about to change dramatically. In states like Texas and Mississippi, unconstitutional and impermissible restrictions have been taken to the Supreme Court, where our reproductive health, rights and freedoms could be set back 50 years. Let’s be clear these bans and restrictions on abortion and reproductive health care are deeply rooted in misogyny, white supremacy and political control.

Despite the onslaught of attacks, poll after poll continues to show that more than seven in 10 Americans support legal abortion. But if Roe falls, 26 states could ban abortion, creating an untenable and grossly inequitable gradient in the availability of care across the United States. The result? Thirty-six million people nearly half of whom are of childbearing age could lose access to health care. New York, along with states like California and Illinois, become “access states” where individuals seek health care when it is inaccessible in their own state.

A right means nothing without meaningful access. Even in New York, a state that legalized abortion in 1970 (three years before Roe v. Wade), comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care can be out of reach. Barriers such as affordability, lack of transportation, availability of childcare services, time off from work, and availability of providers can limit an individual’s ability to control their reproductive health.

Governor Kathy Hochul has outlined several proposals aimed at removing some of these barriers, such as promoting equality in our state’s constitution, strengthening abortion insurance coverage, and investing in providers. which are essential to guarantee the right to sexual and reproductive health care. a reality. Funding for reproductive health service providers has not increased over the past decade, despite the rising costs of providing this lifesaving health care. If New York providers are to meet the needs of patients today and prepare for the increased needs of tomorrow that have accompanied the erosion of abortion rights across the country, heads of state must act.

New York has a proud heritage of protecting and promoting reproductive health and rights upon which our current leaders must build. The Reproductive Health Act leveled our state law with Roe, but it was not a finish line. The New York Legislature must respond to the urgency of this moment and come up with action to protect and expand reproductive health and rights – and it must happen this legislative session.

Georgana Hanson of Saratoga Springs is the interim president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts.

About Hubert Lee

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