As the right to access abortion care has been stripped away from over one-third of U.S. women, New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced the city is further enshrining its commitment to reproductive rights.
Releasing the Sexual and Reproductive Bill of Rights. This Bill of Rights defines health as inclusive of access to sexual health care, birth control, gender-affirming health care, and abortion services, and will help ensure that all patients in New York City are protected from discrimination and harassment related to their sexual and reproductive health care decisions. The Sexual and Reproductive Bill of Rights will be distributed to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) network of health care providers, advocacy groups, and partner organizations across the city to share with patients.
“Two years ago, the Supreme Court stripped women of the right to control their own bodies, and since then, cities and states across the country have worked tirelessly to completely limit abortion access to Americans,” said Mayor Adams. “As much of the nation continues their attacks on abortion care, we won’t ever allow this right to be stripped away here in New York City. We are issuing a Sexual and Reproductive Health Bill of Rights today to do everything in our power to ensure abortion and reproductive health care remain available to residents and visitors alike. This is about protecting women’s choices and their freedoms.”
“New York City has acted to protect reproductive rights and has strengthened access to services through the Abortion Access Hub and other programs launched by DOHMH and NYC Health + Hospitals,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “With the release of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Bill of Rights, we are communicating clearly with providers all across the city about what is right and just in a health care environment. Patients and providers alike can now have more clarity in these care conversations and know that New York City stands with them at each step along the way.”
“While rights to reproductive health for women, transgender, and gender expansive people are eroded nationally, this administration is a leader in ensuring all New Yorkers receive necessary health care,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “This Sexual and Reproductive Health Bill of Rights will enshrine the right to comprehensive reproductive health and family planning, continuing the promise of ‘Women Forward NYC’ to help all women, including transgender and gender expansive New Yorkers, thrive.”
“Abortion care is health care, health care is a human right, and New Yorkers, and all Americans, have a right to exercise their rights by making health care decisions about their own bodies,” said DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “Abortion remains legal in New York, but we know that protected rights are necessary, but not sufficient, to guarantee access to care. Knowing your rights and exercising these rights is just as important. That is why the city is launching the Sexual and Reproductive Health Bill of Rights and bringing additional abortion services online — to provide support that helps people navigate multiple barriers to care. Everyone deserves to receive reproductive health care in a safe, high-quality, dignified environment.”
“NYC Health + Hospitals is proud to offer safe and legal abortion care,” said Marisa Nádas, MD, MPH, reproductive health clinical lead, NYC Health + Hospitals, and associate medical director, Virtual ExpressCare. “By offering telehealth abortion services and patient navigation support to people seeking abortion care, as well as abortion care at all of our hospital-based clinics, we are overcoming many of the non-medical barriers people face in accessing care. We are committed to striving for reproductive justice for all New Yorkers.”
In 2022, in its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal right to access safe, legal abortion care nationwide. Since that decision, New York City has introduced a range of services to protect and fulfill the local right to access abortion care. Since launching the New York City Abortion Access Hub in November 2022, more than 3,500 callers and over 790 chatters have been directed to reproductive health services and resources through NYC Health + Hospitals and providers throughout New York City:
- More than a third of all callers request a Spanish-speaking navigator and a majority of callers identify as Hispanic or Latino.
- A majority of callers shared that they make less than $25,000 a year.
- Most callers live in New York City.
- Over 600 callers reported living outside the state and more than a third of those callers were from Texas.
Anyone in need of abortion services or support in accessing care can receive referrals by calling 877-NYC-AHUB (877-692-2482). For those who might prefer to start the conversation over text, there is now a chat feature to connect them to a phone operator.
The city — alongside health care providers, patients, and dedicated supporters of reproductive care — has weathered ongoing attempts to restrict access to mifepristone, one of two drugs used for the past 23 years in medication abortion and has continued to support unfettered access to this safe and effective medication. In August 2022, Mayor Adams signed legislation enabling access to no cost medication abortion at DOHMH sexual health clinics. The service has expanded to the Jamaica and Central Harlem Sexual Health clinics after launching in Morrisania in January 2023. As a result, in 2023:
- 627 medication abortion services were provided at the city’s sexual health clinics,
- Most patients were New York City residents, with residents of the Bronx and Queens representing half of all medication abortion visits, and
- More than 60 percent of medication abortion patients were uninsured.
In October 2023, NYC Health + Hospitals launched telehealth abortion access through Virtual ExpressCare — becoming the first public health system in the nation to do so. Patients in New York City seeking abortion care can schedule a Virtual ExpressCare appointment to speak with a New York state-licensed health care professional by video or phone, on-demand, for an assessment and counseling. If clinically appropriate and prescribed, patients will be able to receive a medication abortion kit at their New York City address within a few days. This service is available seven days a week, between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM, and will provide patients with access to safe, legal abortion care. Patients can access telehealth abortion care online or by calling (718) 360-8981.
This effort comes of the heels of Women Forward NYC: An Action Plan for Gender Equity, a more than $43 million investment aimed at making New York City a national leader on gender equity, including for transgender and gender expansive New Yorkers, with the ambitious goal of becoming the most women-forward city in the United States. Supported through city dollars, private and public partnerships, academic institutions, and federal grant funding, the action plan addresses gender disparities by connecting women to professional development and higher-paying jobs; dismantling barriers to sexual, reproductive, and chronic health care; reducing gender-based violence against women; and providing holistic housing services, including for formerly incarcerated women and domestic and gender-based violence survivors.
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