December 12, 2018
Contact: Stephanie Reichin
Half-a-million-dollar investment to blanket New York to urge Albany to enshrine reproductive rights into state law and showcase the widespread public support including in Hudson Valley and Long Island
New York – In the wake of the unprecedented victories for pro-choice candidates in New York State’s 2018 elections, the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) and NIRH Action Fund announced today the launch of a statewide campaign raising awareness for the need to reform New York’s abortion laws to explicitly protect reproductive rights and abortion access and calling for immediate and long-overdue passage of the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) as an early priority in the 2019 legislative session. The nearly half-a-million-dollar campaign, which includes TV and radio ads, billboards, and digital media, as well as grassroots organizing, builds on the strong message voters sent in a midterm election cycle noteworthy for the number of candidates in districts across New York who ran – and won – on the promise of passing the RHA.
“Voters last month couldn’t have been clearer: they not only showed their support for the RHA at the polls, they delivered a mandate for Albany to pass it – and fast,” said Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health & NIRH Action Fund. “In the nearly 50 years since New York lawmakers legalized abortion in the state, never has the right to make reproductive decisions and the ability to access abortion faced such threat and uncertainty. That’s why it is imperative that Albany once again stands up, and passes the RHA – the critical first step toward ensuring that abortion remains legal and accessible to all New Yorkers.”
“While the federal government wages a war on reproductive rights and tries to turn back the clock on our progress, New York is fighting back to protect our rights and equality,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo. “I vowed to pass the Reproductive Health Act within the first 30 days of my next administration, and I am proud to join with NIRH in continuing to call on the legislature to finally and immediately pass this critical legislation. Together, we will secure reproductive rights in New York and ensure we remain a beacon of progress for the nation.”
New York is often called a progressive leader, however its woefully out of date laws governing abortion still force women to travel out of state for needed medical care and fail to reflect best medical practice. Enacted prior to Roe v. Wade, New York’s abortion laws still regulate abortion as a crime, rather than a medical procedure, and maintain a Civil War-era prohibition on self-managed abortion that make women vulnerable to prosecution.
The NIRH and NIRH Action Fund campaign makes clear that the Trump Administration’s attacks on access to reproductive health care, and the appointment of anti-abortion justices who tip the balance on the Supreme Court, creates a new obligation for states like New York to protect a woman’s right to control her body, her life, and her future. Neighboring states like Massachusetts moved swiftly to decriminalize abortion after Justice Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court last spring. In contrast, the New York Senate spent years blocking the RHA even as other states – from Delaware to Illinois to Oregon – advanced abortion rights and access. Now, with a new, broad pro-choice majority in the State Senate, the Governor and State Assembly finally have the partner they need to act on their commitment to reproductive health, rights, and justice – and to deliver for New Yorkers.
“New York has the opportunity to be the first state since the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh to protect abortion rights and access at the state level – and it won’t be the last,” Miller continued. “Across the country, voters elected candidates with the political will and courage of their convictions to establish new protections for reproductive freedom in their state laws. By passing the RHA, New York can help shine a light on the need for proactive measures that safeguard reproductive freedom by recognizing that access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion, is a fundamental component of every person’s health, bodily autonomy, privacy, and equality – and to encourage other states to pick up that mantle.”
The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) builds power at the state and local levels to change public policy, galvanize public support, and normalize women’s decisions about abortion and contraception.
The NIRH Action Fund conducts nonpartisan advocacy and electoral engagement to advance reproductive freedom in states and cities across the country.