Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre Stands Up for Women’s Rights

Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Babylon) announced that she helped pass a legislative package to strengthen women’s rights, ensure access to contraception and abortion and protect New Yorkers from discrimination for reproductive health decisions (A.1748, A.566-A, A.9957). She also helped pass a measure proposing an amendment to the state Constitution guaranteeing women’s equal rights (A.7990).

“A woman’s body is hers and hers alone. Reproductive freedom is a constitutional right that the government and employers have absolutely no place interfering with,” said Jean-Pierre. “Some in this country want to turn back the clock on women’s equality, but we’re not going to stand for that in New York State.”

Jean-Pierre co-sponsored two bills in the reproductive rights legislative package that passed the Assembly. One measure codifies the protections of Roe v. Wade in state law, affirming a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy within 24 weeks, or when the pregnancy isn’t viable or endangers the mother’s life or health (A.1748). This legislation ensures that women have access to abortion as the federal administration continues its relentless attempt to overturn this right, Jean-Pierre noted.

The other measure Jean-Pierre co-sponsored prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on their reproductive health choices and other health care decisions (A.566-A). It also bars employers from accessing private medical information without the employee’s express permission.

Jean-Pierre also helped pass the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act, which requires that health insurers provide cost-free coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptives when prescribed by a health care provider (A.9957). The legislation prohibits the insurers from charging deductibles, coinsurance or co-pays for contraception. This ensures that women can have access to contraceptive medications and devices, whether they are used to prevent pregnancy or for other health issues.

In 2017, 30 states and Washington, D.C. enacted laws to protect reproductive rights and to expand access to abortion, pregnancy care and contraception.1 Although the Assembly has repeatedly passed legislation to do the same, the measures have been stalled in the Senate.

A measure to amend the state constitution to protect women’s equal rights also passed the Assembly. The proposal includes sex as one of the areas protecting New Yorkers from discrimination along with race, creed, color creed or religion in Article 1 of the New York State Constitution. If passed by the Legislature twice, the amendment proposal would then be voted on by New Yorkers.

“It’s unbelievable that in this day and age, this change is in any way controversial. But after more than 40 years, we’re still struggling to make equal rights part of our national constitution,” said Jean-Pierre. “It’s time to make full women’s equality a reality.”

The Assembly passed a resolution with bipartisan support last year calling on Congress to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.