New York Governor Fights for Access to Reproductive Services

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo aims to provide access to women’s healthcare services that could be lost with a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D-NY) recently announced multiple actions to continue to provide access to reproductive services in New York State, which may otherwise be taken away due to the potential impending repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

These regulator actions will provide patients with contraceptives covered by commercial health insurance without copays, coinsurance, or deductibles, according to a press release from the governor’s office. These laws will be in place to protect patients regardless of whether the provision is repealed under the ACA.

Additionally, the legislation will provide contraceptives in amounts greater than 1 month at a time, and medically necessary abortion services will be fully covered by commercial health insurance.

The state made this announcement on the same day as the Women’s Marches that took place across the country to raise awareness about women’s reproductive rights, and on the same day as the 44th anniversary of Roe V. Wade.

“Women deserve to make a fair wage and the same salary as any man, they deserve to work in an office free of sexual harassment, they deserve comprehensive paid family leave, and they deserve control over their health and reproductive decisions,” Gov Cuomo said. “These regulatory actions will help ensure that whatever happens at the federal level, women in our state will have cost-free access to reproductive health care and we hope these actions serve as a model for equality across the nation.”

This announcement also outlines that next steps in “New York’s Promise to Women: Ever Upward,” which are actions the governor has taken to support women’s rights and access to reproductive services.

“There has never been a more critical time than now to ensure access to the reproductive health services that New York women require,” said Department of Financial Services (DFS) Superintendent Maria T. Vullo. “DFS will take all necessary actions to make sure that insurers cover abortions and contraceptives with no copayments, deductibles or any out-of-pocket costs. New York will not tolerate any impediments or impairments of women’s rights and access to reproductive health care.”

Additionally, the new legislation will require that insurers provide their customers with accurate information about their coverage, including free contraception.

Over the past 2 years, Cuomo has signed legislation to combat sexual assault on college campuses, prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, end pregnancy discrimination, create the longest and most comprehensive paid family leave program in the country, and raise minimum wage, according to the press release.

These actions by the governor have garnered significant, widespread support from advocacy groups and patients, with many recognizing his efforts in a time where the federal law may no longer protect these services for women.

“We applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo for his bold leadership to protect the health and rights of New Yorkers,” said Kim Atkins, board chair, Family Planning Advocates of New York State. “Our state has long stood as a national leader for reproductive health and rights but today, as extreme politicians in Washington seek to severely restrict access to affordable, high-quality reproductive health care, dismantle federal protection for legal abortion, and defund Planned Parenthood, Governor Cuomo’s action provides the brightest light in these dark days. Governor Cuomo knows that access to reproductive health care is essential health care and that New Yorkers must stand together and protect our rights!”