With concerns that the Trump administration might rollback reproductive rights, Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor) has joined the effort to protect whatt he called women’s rights in New York State.
The Assembly this week passed legislation to allow women to terminate pregnancies in the first 24 weeks or whenever the pregnancy is deemed not viable or a threat to a woman’s life or health.
“The goal of medical laws and regulations should be to improve the quality and availability of health care, not to place undue burdens on patients and providers,” Mr. Thiele said.
The second piece of legislation, the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act, would require insurers to cover all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices and products when prescribed by a health care professional.
At the same time, it leaves in place the right for religious employers to request policies that don’t cover contraceptive methods.
The legislation would ensure coverage for emergency contraception, voluntary sterilization, patient education and counseling and related follow up care.
With the Affordable Care Act in peril, the state needs to act to assure such coverage is in place, Mr. Thiele said.
“From coast to coast, women are fighting for their reproductive freedom, pushing back against what seems to be never-ending attacks on their rights,” Mr. Thiele said.
“Over and over, we hear politicians arguing about what’s best for women, as if it’s their decision to make,” he said.
“A woman and her doctor know what’s best for her health — not the government and not an insurance company,” the legislator said.
He noted there are 31 states in which obstacles have been established against women seeking abortions and in 2016 alone, 14 states passed such legislation.
Only a few months into the new year and at least 46 anti-choice bills have been introduced or are pending state legislatures to act this year.
He called it “alarming” that 44 years since the Supreme Court in its Roe v. Wade decision avowed the right to abortion, such threats continue.
“Not only is the right to choose under attack — this battle for equality stretches much further than that,” he said.
Planned Parenthood is under attack as well as basic health care and New York State needs to lead the battle for reproductive freedom, Mr. Thiele said.