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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.
Request: Pass Paid Family Leave this year.
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 preventative 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.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that health insurance plans cover all FDA-approved birth control methods without out-of-pocket costs. This benefit is a huge step forward for women’s health and equality. Despite the fact that over 27 million women now have this benefit, some bosses are fighting to take it away.
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.
New York State has demonstrated its commitment to protecting employees in the workplace. It is time to ensure that decisions about reproductive health matters are also protected in New York laws.
Request: Pass the Boss Bill this year.
End of session update: Passed by the Assembly in January the Boss Bill remains stalled in the Senate Committee on Insurance.
The legislation clearly protect the core rights established in Roe v. Wade by aligning New York law with federal precedent and current medical practice. In 1970, New York amended its penal code section that criminalized abortion to add an exception to what was considered a ‘justifiable abortion.’ Prior to that amendment, abortion was only ‘justifiable’ to preserve a woman’s life. The 1970 amendment to New York’s penal code legalized abortions performed within 24 weeks of the commencement of pregnancy. In 1973, the US Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113 (1973), stated that women have a constitutional right to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability and, thereafter, in order to protect their life or health. Since that time, the health exception has been read into New York law.
End of session update: Passed by the Assembly in June, the Reproductive Services Act was defeated in the Senate Health Committee.