The New York State Senate approved legislative measures to protect and improve reproductive care and maternal health outcomes in New York State. The legislation includes stronger protections during special enrollment periods to prevent fees from being imposed on pregnant individuals; establishes a uterine fibroid education and awareness campaign through the Department of Health; enhances the scope of health equity impact assessments; includes new initiatives in the Hospital-Home Health Care-Physician Collaboration Program, and creates a community doula directory for doulas serving Medicaid recipients. These bills look to address the stark disparities in Black and Brown communities with regard to health care access, early disease detection and prevention, and effective treatment options. As the United States continues to grapple with the worst maternal mortality rates in any developed nation, New York is taking meaningful steps to right these injustices and create a safe haven for women, mothers, and anyone else seeking inclusive care.
Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “When it comes to reproductive health, maternal care, and pregnancy outcomes, every person should have access to life-saving information and quality care. The Senate Democratic Majority and I have been, and remain, committed to improving and strengthening resources wherever possible so that pregnant New Yorkers receive top-of-the-line support. I want to thank the bill sponsors for continuing this important work and helping to protect people throughout our state who utilize these services.”
Chair of the Women’s Issues Committee and bill sponsor, Senator Lea Webb, said “Access to safe, high quality, and readily accessible reproductive health services and maternal health care is critical to the health and safety of the women who make up more than half of our state’s population and to their families. Here in the US, we have seen increasing rates of maternal mortality with the worst outcomes experienced by Black women and their infants. This trend, coupled with the increase in maternity care deserts across the country, including here in New York, is a public health crisis for women. My legislation makes sure that this issue is given full consideration during the Certificate of Need process undertaken by the Public Health and Health Planning Council with regard to access to reproductive and maternal health issues that are integral to the health and safety of more than half of our state’s population - Women and their families.”