Assemblymember Carroll: Assembly Continues Leading the Way in Protecting Women’s Reproductive Freedom

Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D/WF-Brooklyn) announced that he helped pass two critical pieces of legislation to strengthen and protect women’s reproductive rights. The measures affirm a woman’s right to an abortion in New York State (A.1748) and require insurers to continue covering contraception at no cost to the consumer (A.1378).

“From coast to coast, women are fighting for their reproductive freedom, pushing back against what seems to be never-ending attacks on their rights,” Assemblymember Carroll said. “Over and over, we hear politicians arguing about what’s best for women, as if it’s their decision to make. Let me be clear: A woman and her doctor know what’s best for her health – not the government and not an insurance company.”

There are 31 states with laws and regulations in place that put obstacles in the way of women obtaining access to abortions. In 2016 alone, 14 states passed new laws to further restrict this constitutional right.[1] And now, less than a month into 2017, at least 46 anti-choice bills have been introduced or are pending in state legislatures across the country.[2] It’s been nearly 44 years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, and yet the threat to women’s reproductive rights is as alarming and real as ever. With an anti-choice president about to take office with a Supreme Court vacancy to fill, the time to fight back is now, said Assemblymember Carroll.

The Assembly Majority has shown a steadfast commitment to ensuring New York is a place where a woman’s constitutionally guaranteed right to choose is safeguarded and valued. Yesterday, legislation was passed by the Assembly to protect a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy within 24 weeks, or when the pregnancy is not viable, or endangers her life or health (A.1748). The legislation emphasizes that the goal of medical laws and regulations should be to improve the quality and availability of health care, not to place undue burdens on patients and providers.

The second piece of Assembly legislation, the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act, requires health insurers to cover all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices and products when they are prescribed by a health care provider (A.1378). The legislation, though, leaves in place existing state law that allows religious employers to request an insurance policy that does not cover contraceptive methods. Further, the measure ensures coverage for emergency contraception, voluntary sterilization, patient education and counseling and all related follow-up care. Insurance companies are prohibited from charging co-pays, co-insurance payments and deductibles for contraception and are barred from imposing any restrictions or delays with respect to such coverage.

A hallmark of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the requirement that insurance providers cover contraception and preventive services at no cost to the consumer. But with the ACA in peril, it’s time New York takes action to ensure this vital coverage doesn’t disappear for the countless women and men who depend on it, noted Assemblymember Carroll.

“Not only is the right to choose under attack – this battle for equality stretches much further than that. Planned Parenthood is under attack, basic health care is under attack, our futures are under attack, and I refuse to sit back and do nothing,” Assemblymember Carroll said. “It’s up to New York State to be a leader and stand up for reproductive freedom. We can’t allow the progress we’ve made in the fight for full women’s equality to be undone – not now, not ever.”