(Albany, NY) The Senate Democratic Majority yesterday advanced legislation to improve maternal and reproductive health in New York State. The legislative package will enact "Lian's Law," which directs the Department of Health to review covered benefits related to childbirth, uncover hidden costs and require the Department of Health to develop pelvic exam information pamphlets.
“During my tenure as Senate Majority Leader, we have passed landmark legislation to protect and improve women's healthcare,” Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “The bills that we’ve passed address serious maternal health issues and help to ensure that women are in control of their healthcare. I applaud my colleagues in the Senate Majority for sponsoring this legislation that will improve maternal and reproductive health across New York State.”
Senator Julia Salazar, Bill Sponsor and Chair of the Senate Committee on Women’s Issues said, “By passing this legislation, aptly at the start of this Women’s History Month, we are prioritizing women’s health and maternal health in our state. These bills are a meaningful step in our ongoing work to improve womens’ health outcomes, affirm women’s autonomy over our health and bodies, and ensure that all new parents can receive high-quality health care.”
The legislation passed by the Senate includes:
- Informational Pamphlets for Pelvic Exams: This bill, S.210A, sponsored by Senator Roxanne Persaud, requires the department of health to develop an informational pamphlet for patients undergoing pelvic examinations and to make the informational pamphlet available for use by medical practitioners performing pelvic examinations.
- Expansion of Healthcare and Wellness Education and Outreach Programs: This bill, S.3209, sponsored by Senator Julia Salazar, will encourage and establish awareness for the options for donation of postnatal tissue and fluids. Public education and outreach surrounding postnatal tissue and fluids would encourage public knowledge of the medical potential for them, similarly to having the option to donate blood or donating one's organs after passing. Postnatal tissue and fluids include the placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid.
- Lian's Law: This bill, S.3474 , sponsored by Senator Jermey Cooney, will enact "Lian's law" which expands the health care and wellness education and outreach program to include information on detection, risk factors and management, and possible options for the treatment of preeclampsia.
- Review of Healthcare Benefits Related to Childbirth: This bill, S4827, sponsored by Senator Julia Salazar, directs the Department of Financial Services, in consultation with the Department of Health to review the covered benefits related to childbirth offered by all health insurance providers in New York State. The review will uncover hidden costs related to childbirth, shine a light on disparities in rates negotiated by insurers covering the birth, and determine whether statewide standards should be adopted in addition to taking measure of how the State already fulfills requirements set by the Federal Affordable Care Act.
Bill Sponsor, Senator Jeremy Cooney, said, “The rate of maternal mortality is unacceptably high yet preventable through competent treatment and care. Although preeclampsia is rare, it is a serious medical condition that can lead to tragic outcomes and disproportionately impacts Black and Brown communities. I am proud to sponsor Lian’s Law, which addresses maternal health outside of the delivery room, and provides new moms across New York State with the high-quality care they deserve.”
Bill Sponsor, Senator Roxanne Persaud, said, “Although pelvic exams are a routine procedure we cannot assume everyone has confidence in this experience. This legislation is an effective way to provide clear and accurate information to women and girls that find themselves in this new and unfamiliar situation, so they understand what to expect. I am proud to stand with my senate colleagues to give women access to quality health education and care.”
Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris said, “Healthcare for women is under fire across the nation, but here in New York, our Senate Majority is standing up for these critical needs. I am proud to support this legislation and the work of my colleagues who made it possible.”
Senator Jamaal Bailey said, “Women’s health should not be a controversial topic in government. We should ensure that women have access to exceptional health services, and that all women regardless of race or ethnicity have equal access to adequate healthcare. I would like to thank Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and my colleagues in government who sponsored pieces of legislation for this package.”
Senator Alessandra Biaggi said "Far too many New Yorkers have trouble accessing reproductive healthcare and the information needed to make informed decisions about their health. Lack of crucial information regarding pelvic exams or preeclampsia can endanger patients’ lives. By providing additional educational resources and outreach, we can ensure all New Yorkers have the knowledge to feel safe and confident when making reproductive health decisions. I am proud to cosponsor these four bills and join my colleagues in passing this important legislation."
Senator Leroy Comrie said, “As we celebrate Women’s History Month, my colleagues in the Senate Majority and I remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that every woman in our state has access to information on her health and wellness as well as quality, affordable care. I applaud Leader Stewart-Cousins and my colleagues for advancing these bills.”
Senator Jim Gaughran said “There is no better way to kick-off the start of Women’s History Month than by passing meaningful legislation to end the disparities women face in obtaining and accessing healthcare, particularly during pregnancy. I am proud to support this package of legislation and thank Leader Stewart-Cousins for helping advance New York forward.”
Senator Brad Hoylman siad, “Research from the National Institutes of Health shows women have a greater risk for unmet health care needs than men, and I’m proud to work with my colleagues to fix this historic wrong. This legislative package will help health care providers educate patients about pelvic exams, increase awareness about postnatal tissue and fluid donations, review how health insurance providers cover benefits relating to childbirth and more. As we enter Women’s History Month, I’m thankful Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the Senate Democratic Conference are tackling gendered disparities in health care education and coverage.”
Senator Robert Jackson said, “I am proud to support this legislative package focused on the reproductive health of people who can give birth. From the hidden costs of pregnancy to the healthcare, we provide before, during, and after birth, these bills address important issues in New York State. I thank the sponsors, especially Senator Salazar as our Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues, for their work.”
Senator Tim Kenndey said "With the passage of this legislation, the Senate is taking comprehensive steps to better support, educate, and protect women across New York as they navigate personal health decisions. I thank Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins for moving these important reforms forward, and applaud Senators Persaud, Salazar, and Cooney for prioritizing these measures."
Senator John Liu said, “It is important to provide women with information about medical conditions they may experience during pregnancy, especially since prevention is superior to treatment. Too many women are simply not aware of diseases that can be avoided with early detection - such as preeclampsia. This legislation will help protect women from unnecessary suffering.”
Senator John Mannion said, “I will always stand in support of women’s rights and that includes protecting, promoting, and expanding access to health care. I was proud to vote for the package of women’s health legislation that includes new outreach and educational programs to ensure women understand and are getting the care they need and are entitled to.”
Senator Rachel May said, “We continue to witness disturbing disparities in women's healthcare. Women in general, and women of color specifically, often have their health concerns dismissed. The legislature must do all we can to ensure that women and mothers have access to quality care and to the information they need to be their own advocates. I'm proud to support this package of bills."
Senator Kevin Parker said, “In honor of Women's History Month I am proud to stand in solidarity with my colleagues to pass legislation that will make women's health a priority. The legislation we put forth puts accountability on the department of health to provide more awareness around resources and informational packets. We will also work to conduct studies that will allow us to negate any hidden cost associated with childbirth. This legislation will benefit every woman in New York State and I am proud to be a supporter.
Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick said, “Women, and especially women of color, are disproportionately impacted by negative health outcomes due to the implicit biases systemically present in our healthcare system. I am honored to be starting Women’s History Month by joining the Senate Democratic Majority Conference in passing this package of legislation that will help improve healthcare outcomes for women, and ensure that more women have the knowledge they need to get the healthcare that they deserve.”
Senator James Sanders Jr. said, “Women are such an important part of our lives and our world. It is fitting then during March, which is Women’s History Month, that we put forward a package of bills that will collectively aim to improve lives for all women particularly in the areas of health and wellness. We want our mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces, aunts and all the women in our lives to be around for many years to come and that means consistent preventative health screenings and education.”
Senator Diane Savino said, “This package of legislation modernizes policies surrounding maternal care and women’s health. The United States has some of the highest maternal mortality rates of any industrialized country, a large factor being a lack of awareness about preeclampsia, which disproportionately affects women of color. Each of these bills addresses a specific need that has been long overdue and I am proud that New York is taking on these important issues.”
Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, “Women’s lives are at risk if they do not receive the critical maternal health care they need before and after giving birth. Support and informational outreach programs are vital in understanding and detecting proper and lifesaving procedures for appropriate treatments, especially in high-risk pregnancies. We advance legislation that will help save lives and prioritize women’s health by requiring the NYS Department of Health to create public awareness on the donation of postnatal tissue and fluids, pelvic exams, and possible options for the medical treatment of preeclampsia. This package will also shine a light on disparities in hidden cost-rates by insurance companies related to childbirth.”
Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said, “March is Women’s History Month, and as we pay tribute to trailblazing women we must continue to fight for women’s rights in New York State. This legislative package empowers women to take better control of their health, family and future. I thank my colleagues in the Democratic Majority for introducing and passing this important legislation.”
Senator Kevin Thomas said, “New York women deserve equitable access to the information and educational resources they need to make informed health care decisions. The bills we passed expand health care, wellness education, and outreach programs that will protect women’s health and lives throughout New York State.”