As members of the Bipartisan Pro Choice Legislative Caucus (BPCLC), our goal is to not only protect women’s reproductive rights already in place in the State of New York, but to also strengthen them. With this objective in mind, the BPCLC vows to join NARAL, and other pro choice groups, in the fight to pass The Reproductive Health Act.
A legislative caucus formed earlier this year has legislators from both houses and both sides of the aisle fighting to protect reproductive health rights and helping advocates to educate New Yorkers about them.
"Women's rights and women's reproductive rights are not a bipartisan issue. It's a health care issue," said Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, R-Willsboro. "It's an issue that government should be working together on to make sure that our children have proper information that they need to keep themselves safe and to keep themselves healthy."
Nearly three months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers forged an agreement on legislation to set up a health-insurance exchange in the state, the GOP-controlled Senate has yet to indicate whether it plans to return to Albany to vote on the bill. States are required to set up health-care exchanges to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act.
The measure passed the Assembly at during the last week of session in June, but it was removed from the Senate agenda because some Republicans said they oppose “Obamacare” and thus would vote no on the bill. Senate leaders said it could be taken up later in the year. The Senate has not returned since June, and it’s unclear whether the bill will be voted on.
Fifty-four Assembly members and senators have signed on to a letter circulated by the Bipartisan Pro Choice Legislative Caucus urging the Obama administration to interpret the health care reform law such that state-level health care exchanges include all family planning essential community providers in their networks.
The letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Donald Berwick, administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, notes wait times increased most significantly – up to 70 days in the Boston area – for women’s health care providers when Massachusetts implemented its version of health care reform. The lawmakers don’t want to see that replicated here in New York.
The Bipartisan Pro-Choice Caucus wants to make sure women still have quick access to family planning and other services once the Affordable Healthcare Act is fully in place. As caucus founder Senator Liz Krueger explains, their concerns is connected to the state-level health insurance exchanges.
Krueger noted that most of the Senate Republicans have already endorsed Mitt Romney for president, and suggested that the effort to squelch Stavisky’s resolution was a miniature version of assaults on reproduction rights on the federal level. “This is the beginning of their little national Planned Parenthood moment, so to speak,” she said.