2016 Action Agenda
The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA)
The contraceptive coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was meant to make it possible for women to access contraception without co-pays. However, a difference between theory and practice exists with New Yorkers encountering issues with limits to covered contraceptives and financial hurdles. Beyond simply ensuring that insurers are covering the full range of contraceptives defined by HHS, the CCCA would also require insurers to: cover contraceptives prescribed to men, as well as male sterilization, with no cost sharing; allow patients to access emergency contraception (EC) at a pharmacy with a non-patient specific prescription and have it covered; and provide coverage for the dispensing of 12 months of contraceptives at one time.
Paid Family Leave Insurance – Enacted into law on April 4, 2016
Nearly 9 out of 10 working people—6.4 million individuals—did not have access to paid family leave through their employers in New York State. While current federal law allowed 12 weeks of unpaid leave to approximately 60% of all paid workers nationwide, the reality was that most working families could not weather 12 weeks unpaid – disproportionately affected low-income workers, women and minorities. Recognizing the need, the New York Assembly passed the New York Paid Family Leave Act in February 2016, and Governor Cuomo also made paid family leave a priority for this year’s legislative session, culminating in passage of a 12-week paid family leave policy included in the 2016-17 budget bills. New York now has one of the most comprehensive paid family leave policies nationwide.
Fully Fund the New York State Family Planning Grant – Secured in the 2016-17 budget in April 2016
New York State family planning services ensure physically healthy and economically stable communities statewide. Without the Family Planning Grant, New Yorkers would lose critical health care services. Family planning services include vital primary and preventive care such as contraception, pregnancy testing, family planning health care and counseling, health education, treatment and counseling for sexually transmitted infections, HIV testing and prevention counseling, as well as breast and cervical cancer screenings. Funding was secured and passed as part of the New York State 2016-17 budget.
Restrict the use of solitary confinement for pregnant inmates
The use of solitary confinement for pregnant individuals must be restricted to safeguard their health. Solitary confinement restricts inmates’ access to medical and mental health care, which is extremely dangerous for pregnant inmates. Detention in a physically-restricted space with limited access to exercise is not safe or healthy for those who are pregnant.
Current law makes it illegal in New York State to discriminate on the basis of age, race, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, sex and other categories in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and credit. Unfortunately, transgender individuals are not afforded these protections and face discrimination in many areas of their lives on a daily basis. This legislation would extend current protections and prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, making it illegal for a person to be discriminated against in any of the aforementioned areas simply because they do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Similarly, it would add gender identity and expression to these same categories already included in New York’s hate crime laws.
Comprehensive Sexuality Education
Research shows that comprehensive, medically accurate, sex education helps to delay the onset of intercourse, reduce the frequency of intercourse, and increase condom and contraception use, and decrease the number of sexual partners of program participants. While NYS mandates health education for all students, which must include information on HIV/AIDs, there is no requirement for sex education. Therefore, whether or not a young person received sex education (and what that information contains) varies across the state.
The “Boss Bill”
The Boss Bill would protect an employee from retaliation based on the reproductive health care they choose to access, regardless of their boss’s personal feelings on the matter. Following the United States Supreme Court’s decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case, employees in New York must be assured that an employer’s personal belief do not determine a worker’s access to reproductive health care.
Minor’s Access to Preventive Care
Currently, New York law has a provision that allows teens to consent to testing for and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but the law contains no provision that allows teens to consent to care to prevent an STI. This bill would allow minors to consent to preventative care for STIs, such as administration of a vaccine used to prevent the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Allowing teens to consent to preventive care is a practical step towards reducing the rates of STIs makes for a healthier New York.