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The Remarks of Speaker Carl E. Heastie

Press Conference Announcing Assembly's Intent to Pass Legislation to Protect Access to Reproductive Health Services

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Speaker's Conference Room

[as prepared]

Good afternoon and thank you for joining us.

The Assembly Majority has always been an outspoken advocate for 100 percent women's equality.

There is no greater challenge to a woman's autonomy than taking away her right to control reproductive health choices over her own body.

Later today the Assembly Majority will once again pass the Reproductive Health Act and the Contraceptive Coverage Act to preserve access to reproductive choice in New York.

Over the years, we have heard it all - that "this doesn't need to be in state law."

We heard that "the Roe v. Wade decision isn't going anywhere."

Still, this conference pushed on.

We saw the warning signs of an agenda that is committed to turning back the hands of progress.

We are still seeing the slow and steady erosion of this constitutional freedom.

We have all watched the endless attempts to stifle the access that makes choice possible.

The incoming federal administration has been very clear about what the future holds for reproductive freedom in this country so we must act quickly to defend what was promised more than 40 years ago.

We are thankful to have a committed partner in Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who advanced one of the bills we will be passing today, the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act.

The AG has been our longtime ally in eliminating barriers and defending the constitutional rights of all New Yorkers.

I want to thank our bill sponsors, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Assemblymember Kevin Cahill for their leadership in bringing these important bills to the floor.

To all of my colleagues in the majority conference, thank you for your continued support of these measures.

It is not enough to simply hope that constitutional freedoms will endure for future generations - we must fight to make sure that they do.

We opened this legislative session with a promise to New Yorkers that we would not allow this state to go backwards.

Fulfilling that promise starts now, with the passage of these bills to preserve reproductive choice in New York.

We are joined today by a dedicated and courageous group of advocates representing:

In a moment, you will hear from Danielle Castaldi -Micca on behalf of the National Institute for Reproductive Health, but first, I will turn it over to the bill sponsors, Assemblymember Glick then Assemblymember Cahill who will tell us more about today's legislation.