New York State Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wheatley Heights) and Senator Brian Benjamin (D-Bronx) have announced that they have introduced new legislation (A.2147/S.5119) known as the “Eleonora Legacy Act” which will provide incarcerated individuals with greater access to breast cancer screenings and routine information pertaining to breast self-examinations. The Eleonora Legacy Act is named in honor of Eleonora Radovan, who tragically passed away from breast cancer at the age of 70 who was passionate about social justice and breast cancer prevention. Working in conjunction with Donna Cioffi and Linda Bonanno – daughter of the late Eleonora Radovan – of First Company Pink, a not-for-profit organization focused on breast health and its corresponding ‘got checked?’ campaign, this vital legislation will help continue Eleonora’s legacy of social justice and breast cancer prevention.
“We know how important education and prevention are when it comes to saving lives from deadly diseases like breast cancer, and this legislation will help ensure that some of our most vulnerable and neglected populations receive fair and equitable access to life-saving mammogram screenings,” said Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre. “I take immense pride in working together with my colleagues and organizations like First Company Pink to help improve the lives of all New Yorkers, and I am looking forward to bringing forward this legislation to help continue that mission.”
“There is no reason whatever for women who are incarcerated not to have proper medical care,” said Senator Benjamin. “We also know that breast cancer will not wait for a woman to come out of prison. It is unconscionable that being in the system would carry the unnecessary risks of inadequate health care for women, and it is well past time that we straighten this out.”
“The ‘got checked?’ Campaign aims to remain synonymous with a call to action for all,” said Donna Cioffi, co-founder of First Company Pink. “Our quest to make breast health education and screening available to incarcerated women is consistent with human rights.”
“As a nation, we must uplift adults that lost the way to successfully impact the children in their lives for generations to come,” said Linda Bonanno, co-founder and creative director of First Company Pink. “Education paired with bi-annual screening is a lifesaving combination against breast cancer.”
Specifically, the legislation will amend New York’s correction law by adding a new provision that requires state and local correctional facilities to offer routine mammogram screenings for incarcerated individuals every two years. Currently, New York State law lacks a requirement for incarcerated individuals to be provided with the opportunity to receive routine mammogram screenings.
In 2008, the Federal Bureau of Prisons – relying on guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force – recommended that all average-risk sentenced women aged 40 and older receive a mammogram screening every two years. Building on these recommendations, and given that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in New York, this legislation would ensure that incarcerated individuals can receive this important preventative health care measure on a more routine basis and can also be educated on the importance of preventative self-examination measures as a means to honor Eleonora’s legacy and save lives.
The Assembly version of this legislation has advanced out of the Assembly’s Correction Committee and is scheduled for an upcoming vote in the Ways and Means Committee. The Senate version has been referred to the Senate Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction.