(Harlem, NY) Senator Benjamin, together with the Senate Majority, passed a series of historic legislation that will protect and ensure New York women’s health rights. Passed on the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) will codify that decision into New York law and modernize New York’s statutes to protect women’s rights. The Senate Majority also passed the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA) that will ensure insurance companies cover FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices and products. Additionally, the Boss Bill that passed will prevent an employer's religious beliefs from infringing on women's health care decisions. Senator Benjamin and the Senate Majority, together with the Assembly Majority, passed these three important bills through the Legislature swiftly to ensure that New York State again becomes a leader in the fight to protect and expand women’s rights
“The bills we have passed are about justice–plain and simple. Social justice, economic justice, and racial justice for the women of our state, who have been prevented from making decisions for themselves for far too long,” said State Senator Benjamin “When we give women the power of self-determination, we have more women in the workforce, more women in education, more women running for office–more women doing what they want to do the way they want to do it. New Yorkers deserve more than access to healthcare, choice, and equality; they deserve a guarantee. Under the leadership of our first female majority leader, we take an important step towards that guarantee.”
The historic legislation passed by Senator Benjamin and the Senate Democratic Majority includes:
- Reproductive Health Act: This bill, S.240, introduced by Senator Krueger, will modernize New York’s nearly 50-year-old statutes regarding abortion and ensure that New York State law treats abortion as health care, not a criminal act. The Assembly has passed this version of the RHA in 2017 and 2018.
- Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act: This bill, S.659-A, introduced by Senator Julia Salazar, will require health insurance companies to include coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptive options, as well as contraceptive counseling, and services. The Assembly first passed this legislation in 2015.
- Boss Bill: This bill, S.660, introduced by Senator Jen Metzger, will ensure that employees or their dependents are able to make their own reproductive health care decisions without incurring adverse employment consequences. The Assembly has passed it each year since 2014.
“This marks the beginning of a new era in New York. We’re expanding access and breaking down barriers, and finally taking our place as the leader in women’s rights that we can and we should be,” concluded Senator Benjamin.