Funding for Family Planning Providers
New York State has long recognized that family planning health care funding saves women’s lives and is an investment that pays off for the state in the long run. In fact, for every $1 invested in family planning, $5.68 in Medicaid costs is saved. Additionally, the prevention of unintended pregnancy remains a top priority of the State as evidenced by its Prevention Agenda for 2013-17.
It is estimated that the contraception services provided at publically supported family planning centers in New York saved $605.8 million in public funds in 2010. Despite the proven cost savings associated with preventing unintended pregnancies, the 2013-14 enacted budget contained a 5% reduction to the Family Planning Grant.
The “Boss Bill”
The 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby effectively designates women as second-class citizens, placing their health care needs as secondary to the personal beliefs of their bosses. In this devastating ruling, the Court gave CEOs of some closely held profit-making corporations the right to deny their employees legally mandated coverage for birth control because of the CEO’s personal objections — even if those objections are not supported by science or medicine. This means that women in our communities could be at risk of losing coverage for birth control.
The Boss Bill would protect the rights of workers to make their own reproductive health decisions by prohibiting employers from discriminating on the basis of their own personal beliefs about health services. It would protect employees’ abilities to make reproductive health decisions, such as whether to use or access a particular drug, device, or service. The Boss Bill is about simple fairness. This bill makes clear that New York State will protect workers’ abilities to make reproductive health care decisions without the fear of getting fired.
Women’s Equality Agenda
The Women’s Equality Agenda is designed to address important issues affecting women’s lives and wellbeing. While some of the provisions have been passed in the State Senate, they have still not brought the reproductive health portion to the floor for a vote. While it is important that some of these protections have now passed through the New York State Senate, the Senate has failed to grasp the fact that a woman’s ability to plan and space any potential pregnancies is necessary for her to be fully equal in the economy and society. The reproductive health plank aligns New York law with the central holding of Roe v. Wade to make clear that New York law protects the core right that the Supreme Court established.
At a time when many states, as well as Congress, are working to restrict women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care, New York can take a stand by passing the reproductive health plank of the Women’s Equality Agenda.
Paid Family Leave
Under current state law, workers in New York State have no legal right to paid leave in the event that they need to provide for a new, or newly adopted, child, or an ill family member. Unfortunately, most employers do not provide this benefit voluntarily. Low- Income workers are disproportionately impacted by this burden.
In fact, the highest 10% of wage earners are six times more likely to have paid family leave than the lowest 10% of wage earners. Without the ability to access paid family leave, workers may be forced to take unpaid leave or temporarily depart the workforce to provide care. This can leave workers in the untenable position of having to choose between the care of a family member and the economic wellbeing of their family. Paid family leave has been shown to allow parents to recover from childbirth, bond with new children, and better meet the health needs of their families. Paid leave also allows workers to support the health needs of elderly family members. Family Planning Advocates supports legislation to promote economic empowerment and strengthen the health and wellbeing of New York families.