Rally Builds on the Governor's Actions to Require Health Insurers to Cover Emergency Contraception, Over the Counter and 12 Months of Contraception Without Cost-Sharing
View the Governor's Executive Order to Protect Reproductive Rights Here
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was joined today by leaders from Dutchess and Ulster counties at a rally in Poughkeepsie to fight to protect women's reproductive rights. State and local leaders called on the Senate to return to Albany to codify Roe v. Wade into New York State Law. The rally follows the federal government's decision Monday night to nominate Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The Governor vowed to take action to defend New York's progressive values against the extreme conservative agenda of the Trump Administration, including the fight to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade into state law. New actions were also announced by the Governor on Monday to protect reproductive rights in anticipation of this Supreme Court Justice nomination.
"The extreme conservatives in Washington threaten the rights of men and women across this country and New York is standing up against the unconscionable decisions this administration continues to make in order to protect the values this state was built on," Governor Cuomo said. "The political games need to end - Senate Republicans must reconvene to pass this law before the Supreme Court rolls back the progress this nation has made. We will not tolerate any gaps in a woman's right to choose and we will not stop fighting until we codify Roe v. Wade into New York State law."
"I lost my seat in Congress over my steadfast support of the Affordable Care Act and the contraception mandate, and I know how critically important it is to protect these rights at the state level," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "That is why I stand with the Governor and the women of this great state in fighting back to ensure protections and safety for women when it comes to their reproductive health. Given all that is happening in Washington, these actions will protect women's reproductive rights. As President of the State Senate, I'm also calling on Senate Republican leadership to protect the women of this state and pass the Reproductive Health Act and codify Roe v. Wade. No one should tell us what to do with our bodies. Not now, not ever."
The following Dutchess and Ulster county leaders joined the Governor today in calling on the State Senate to reconvene and codify Roe v. Wade into state law:
- Assembly Member Didi Barrett
- Ulster County Executive Mike Hein
- Dutchess County Comptroller Robin Lois
- Red Hook Supervisor Robert McKeon
- New Paltz Mayor Tim Rogers
- New Paltz Supervisor Neil Bettez
- Marlborugh Supervisor Al Lanzetta
We will not tolerate any gaps in a woman's right to choose and we will not stop fighting until we codify Roe v. Wade into New York State law.
For years, Governor Cuomo has pushed to codify the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision and subsequent rulings into state law to secure women's access to reproductive health options. The Governor is again calling for the passage of legislation to protect the right of women to make personal health care decisions and to ensure that health care professionals can provide these crucial services without fear of criminal penalty. The Assembly has passed legislation to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade for the last six years, including during the 2018 Legislative Session.
Additionally, through regulations by the Department of Financial Services and Department of Health, as directed by the Governor on Monday, New York State will ensure an insurer must cover over the counter emergency contraception in addition to all other contraceptive drugs, devices or other products for women approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration and, as well as the dispensing of 12 months of contraceptive at one time, all without co-insurance, co-pays or deductibles. The Executive Order signed by the Governor on Monday, in addition to today's rally, builds on Governor Cuomo's 2018 Women's Agenda: Equal Rights, Equal Opportunity.
The updated DFS regulation mandates that health insurers:
- Expand coverage requirements for contraceptive drugs, devices or other products for women approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration. Require coverage for emergency contraception with no cost sharing when acquired in any lawful manner including on an over the counter basis from an out of network pharmacy;
- Permit a woman to fill 12 months of a prescribed contraceptive at one time, removing the previously required three-month trial period;
- Cover voluntary sterilization procedures for women and over-the-counter contraceptives without cost-sharing; and
- Do not place restrictions or delays on contraceptive coverage not otherwise authorized under the regulation. This provision would prohibit quantity limits and other such restrictions.
The regulation codifies guidance issued in January 2017 regarding information that must be provided in formularies regarding contraceptives, including noting which contraceptives are covered without cost-sharing. Insurers will be required to publish an easily accessible, up-to-date, accurate and complete list of all covered contraceptive drugs, devices and other products on their formulary drug lists, including any tiering structure and any restrictions on the manner in which a drug may be obtained.
The accompanying DOH regulations permit a woman insured through Medicaid to fill 12 months of a prescribed contraceptive at one time, whereas previously, the limit was three months.
A copy of the proposed regulations can be found here.
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "Women's rights are under attack. Another Trump-appointed Justice will guarantee an ultra-conservative Court that is even more hostile to women's health care protections. This will have dire consequences if we don't act because New York decriminalized abortion before the Roe v. Wade decision. The women of New York State are looking to us to protect their hard-won rights, and we must not fail them."
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "The administration in Washington is preparing yet another assault on women's reproductive rights with the nomination of an ultra-conservative Supreme Court justice. Earlier this year, and in countless previous legislative sessions, the New York State Assembly passed legislation to codify Roe v. Wade. Year after year, our Republican colleagues in the Senate neglect to pass this legislation, insisting there is no threat to Roe v. Wade. Their inaction has shamefully put women's reproductive health care in jeopardy. It's time to codify Roe v. Wade. No more excuses."
Robin Chappelle Golston, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, said, "The Trump Administration is committed to ensuring that millions of women across America lose essential access to the health care they absolutely require. We are facing an unprecedented attack on our health care, and rights by a federal government determined to replace evidence-based medically accurate public policy with politically driven ideology. Governor Cuomo is standing up today to remind the nation that New York won't go backwards; we won't sit back quietly as our rights evaporate and we will resist this dismantling of our constitutionally protected rights."
New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman said, "Armed with a Supreme Court vacancy, the Trump regime is poised to pack the court in an effort to undo Roe v. Wade and curtail abortion to an extent not seen since 1973. New York can no longer put off fixing our state's broken abortion law. The Reproductive Health Act would take abortion out of the criminal code so that New York can be a safe-haven where women and their health are valued and protected. That means codifying Roe and ensuring access to the information and services women — including pregnant women — need to protect their health."
Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health said, "Governor Cuomo's executive order today proves that, regardless of what happens at the federal level, states have tremendous power to shape their own state laws and can act now to protect women from the full-blown assault on their reproductive health and rights. The best defense against a hostile Supreme Court and Trump-Pence Administration is a strong state-level offense. States around the country should take note of this action - and Governor Cuomo's previous regulations - and help lead the movement for reproductive freedom from the ground up."