Despite Worst Reproductive Rights Climate in Generations, New York State Senate Fails to Protect Access to Abortion and Contraception Before End of Session

June 22, 2017
Contact: Christie Petrone, 646-520-3504, [email protected]

In lone success for reproductive freedom, Gov. Cuomo takes groundbreaking step by mandating no-co-pay insurance coverage of abortion for all New Yorkers

NEW YORK — As the legislative session ended in Albany, the New York State Senate once again failed to protect the reproductive rights of New Yorkers, leaving women without necessary protections for abortion access and at risk of prosecution for ending their own pregnancy, and putting contraceptive access at the mercy of a federal administration unprecedentedly hostile to women.

The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) would have enshrined in state law the right to abortion as recognized in Roe v. Wade, in addition to removing New York’s criminal ban on self-administered abortion. The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA) would have expanded upon the advances of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in New York state law by ensuring access to the full range of contraceptive methods with no co-pay and allowing women to access 12 months of birth control at a time.

In the lone success for reproductive freedom this session, Gov. Cuomo released new regulations this month that improve access to abortion by guaranteeing insurance coverage for abortion for all New Yorkers with no co-pay. This first-in-the-nation regulation breaks new ground in access to abortion care.

“The New York State Senate should be ashamed of its refusal to act on abortion and contraception this session,” said Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health. “As Washington moves to restrict women’s health care, the RHA and CCCA are critical to New York women’s equal participation in society. New Yorkers – who want and expect our legislators to take action to mitigate the hostility to reproductive rights on the federal level – should be outraged that our senators continued to play politics as usual and refused to even vote on these bills. The governor’s regulations are a bright spot in an otherwise unproductive legislative session. Gov. Cuomo’s regulations enable New York to lead the nation forward and set an example for our Senate – and for other states – to follow in the 2018 legislative session.”

As the federal government works to overturn Roe v. Wade, dismantle access to affordable health care, defund Planned Parenthood, reverse the Affordable Care Act’s birth control insurance coverage mandate, and deny federal family planning funds to facilities that provide abortion, state and local legislative action to safeguard access to reproductive health care is increasingly critical. The National Institute for Reproductive Health continues to counter these federal attempts to roll back women’s rights through proactive policy work in New York and across the country.


The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) builds power at the state and local levels to change public policy, galvanize public support, and normalize women’s decisions about abortion and contraception.