The New York State Senate passed a series of bills to improve birthing outcomes in New York State. The legislation includes measures to create a Reproductive Freedom and Equity Grant Program, a Maternal Health Care and Birthing Standards workgroup, authorizes the New York State Department of Health to create a pregnancy app and launch a uterine fibroid education awareness campaign, and enact the Hospital Transparency Act to ensure statewide access to abortion. The package features bills to strengthen privacy rights by requiring that companies collecting and selling healthcare information must have user consent to sell such information to third parties. It includes stronger protections for pregnant individuals during healthcare insurance special enrollment periods. Also included is legislation granting doulas access to operating rooms and granting birthing individuals access to their doulas in healthcare facilities. The proposal calls on healthcare providers to offer a maternal depression screening to new mothers, and bans carcinogenic substances from menstrual products.
“As the country reels from the Dobbs decision on what would have been the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are making it clear that we will continue to champion policies that safeguard a person’s right to choose and expand access to reproductive health care," said Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “While reproductive rights are under attack and the U.S. maternal mortality crisis continues to worsen, we are leading the way by passing legislation to address this crisis, and by taking steps to combat the unacceptable racial disparities in maternal mortality. I want to thank our Chair of the Women’s Issues Committee, Senator Lea Webb and the Majority Conference for their critical work on these issues as well as the advocates who have worked day in and out to advance reproductive equity.”
Bill sponsor and Chair of the Women’s Issues Committee, Senator Lea Webb, said “I am extremely proud of the work we are doing to increase access to quality maternal and reproductive health care in New York. We know that these issues disproportionately impact people of color and rural communities, which often experience poor health outcomes. This package of legislation will make sure that everyone gets equitable access to comprehensive healthcare including but not limited to timely prenatal care, safe birthing experiences, comprehensive postpartum care, and reproductive health services. This is another win in New York’s fight for reproductive rights and access, and an important step towards more equitable maternal health care throughout our state.”