Entering the nation-wide controversial debate, New York City has now decided to step up and assist people seeking to terminate their pregnancies.
Responding to the several abortion bans and limitations that most of the states in the U.S. have been adopting, New York City has chosen to pay for women seeking this procedure outside their states. In light of the recent national health crisis, New York City has allocated $250,000 to help uninsured and low-income women to get an abortion in the city reported The New York Times. By doing so, NYC has now inserted itself into the nation-wide controversial debate over access to the procedure.
NYC will spend $250,000 to help poor women who travel from other states to obtain abortions there, inserting itself into the increasingly contentious debate over access to the procedure https://t.co/sQl20HRcWu— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 14, 2019
A Democrat from Manhattan, City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Speaker Corey Johnson, and Senior Advisor/External Affairs for New York City Council Jennifer Fermino revealed that the said amount will be used to fund the New York Abortion Access Fund. This will, in turn, help people who are not covered by insurance or Medicaid to pay for abortion procedures they cannot afford. As per reports, this would be the first time for a city to allocate money specifically towards abortions and a majority of the public are all praise for it.
Although the amount of money the city has decided to put aside might seem relatively low, the symbolic objective this allocation serves is much higher. It is without a doubt a provocative move against conservative states who are working towards banning abortions and plaguing the health care system. The officials have confirmed that the contribution will be negotiated during the 2020 budget discussion between the Council and the mayor’s office. They also believe that the amount will allow almost 500 people to terminate their pregnancies.
"New York will become the first city in the country to directly fund abortion by allocating $250,000 of the City’s 2020 budget to NYAAF," said the organization in a statement. Speaking about this historic move a law professor at Northeastern University, Aziza Ahmed told the outlet, "There haven’t been that many city and state public officials to say we should publicly fund abortions. It’s a big statement." She also added, "This is a culture war to some degree."
The efforts taken up by the city have been compared to that of Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organization, which, among many other health care services, provides abortion services while allowing the patients to pay for the services through a sliding scale or via their insurance. The city also funds this organization while providing similar facilities of terminating pregnancies, however, the system tends to get a little too hectic as people have to provide their documents to get it done. So now the city is focusing their attention on assisting more people through the abortion access fund which pays for such procedures that they cannot afford.
With Lousiana passing a bill banning abortions last month, a total of nine states have now either completely banned or limited the procedure in the country. This serves as a direct challenge to the constitutional right laid by Roe v. Wade. Responding to this, Janet Mills the governor of Maine, also signed legislation allowing physician assistants and nurses (apart from doctors) to perform the controversial procedure, earlier this week. In addition to that, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York signed the Reproductive Health Act in January facilitating other medical professionals to perform abortions.
Moreover, people have always considered New York as a haven for abortions due to its liberal laws way before the Roe decision was put into place. A chairwoman of the Council’s Women’s Caucus, Ms. Rivera expressed how this health war made it all the more necessary for New York to reassert itself as "the beacon for the rest of the country." Elaborating further she said, "We heard the news on the abortion bans across the country." Furthermore, she added, "Many of us in New York felt helpless. We wanted to do more."
Before Roe v Wade, NYC was a haven for women who wanted the freedom to choose. It's time for our City to be that beacon for the country once again.#FundAbortionNYC will ensure access to this basic healthcare right regardless of cost or circumstance. https://t.co/AUncikdteC— Carlina Rivera 利華娜 (@CarlinaRivera) June 14, 2019
Initially, the officials working with the New York Abortion Access Fund sought funds through the city’s health department but when it fell short, they started working with National Institute for Reproductive Health in order to convince the city. Now, when the restrictions appeared to get out of hand the organization decided that it was best to take charge and explicitly provide funds for abortions as it seemed to be the best-suited recipient, explained the group’s president, Andrea Miller.
Twitter users couldn't help but be proud of the landmark change made by New York City.
this is basically @nyaaf's operating budget for the year–beyond that, i feel so fucking supported by the city right now. i'm so happy we'll be able to help more people, especially as more abortion restrictions come down the pike.— Caitlin Van Horn ⚡ (@HelloCVH) June 14, 2019
This makes so much sense too. An abortion is so much cheaper than decades of welfare.— Larry Dallas (@I_amLarryDallas) June 16, 2019
Thank you for your leadership in this. This is a landmark change, and we are grateful.— Rabbi Joshua Stanton (@JoshuaMZStanton) June 14, 2019
However, there has been some opposition to this decision.
One thing to keep in mind, this money doesn't cover transportation for women seeking abortion, which is the real hurdle for access. If a woman from Alabama made it to the Bronx for an abortion, she could get it covered from already existing funds.— great time gamer (@buttwife) June 14, 2019
New York City is going to lose at the Supreme Court.— Jonathan Bowen (@JonBowen) June 15, 2019
Every action has a reaction, keep doing radical pro abortion stuff and watch these southern states go just as hard in the opposite direction— Burger Myster (@BurgerMyster17) June 14, 2019
$250,000 for 500 murders. Something to be proud of.— Thomas LeVasseur (@TomLeVasseur58) June 15, 2019