On Monday, January 12, I was proud to be honored by Family Planning Advocates of New York(FPA) as one of the recipients of the prestigious Margaret Sanger Award. The honor is given each year by FPA to individuals of distinction in recognition of excellence and leadership in furthering reproductive health and reproductive rights for women. I am humbled that I was considered for an honor as high as the Margaret Sanger Award, and am grateful to Family Planning Advocates and its committed body of members for this recognition.
As a lifelong activist in the pro-choice movement, I am proud to say that I have never wavered in support of a woman's right to choose. In 1972, a year before Roe v. Wade ruling, I worked at a family planning clinic in Washington, D.C. and saw first hand the importance of accessible reproductive services.
When I arrived in the Senate many years later, I pledged to be an outspoken voice on the Senate floor in support of the right of women to access reproductive health care, including contraception, health screenings, infertility treatment and safe, legal abortion care. In 1999, I worked to help pass the Clinic Anti-Violence Act, the first piece of pro-choice legislation passed in the state in over a decade. I was also the Senate sponsor of the original bill to implement the Women's Health and Wellness Act, which was designed to end discrimination against women by insurance companies with regard to health care coverage.
The substantial ideological shift that has occurred on the United States Supreme Court over the past eight years requires us to do more in New York to safe-guard reproductive freedoms. I don't view this award as an end to the task at hand-but a beginning to the work that must be done in the months and years ahead to ensure that government never acts as a barrier to women's health and wellness.