Dear NYS Legislator:
Feminists Choosing Life of NY (FCLNY) is a statewide human rights organization that educates on the root causes and impacts of publicly sanctioned lethal violence.
We have compiled a ten (10) bill package containing expansive measures regarding maternal and child wellbeing.
Please find below pending laws we ask you to carefully consider; eight (8) we urge you to enact, and two (2) we ask you to oppose, on behalf of not only your constituents, but women and children across our great state.
The cost of day-care in New York is among the least affordable in the country. This act would make childcare fully affordable for all New York families, and increase compensation for child care workers. In 2021, New York’s Child Care Availability Task Force determined that the child care system in NY is in a state of crisis, and in need of a dramatically new approach to addressing unmet needs of working parents or student parents. Under the current Child Care Subsidy Program, families are eligible for financial assistance on an extremely limited basis. In some regions, a family of four with two parents working forty hours per week making minimum wage do not qualify for subsidies, and childcare costs 55.4% of their income.
The Child Care Availability Taskforce (CCAT) reports that many child care workers in NY are dramatically underpaid. According to the CCAT, 15% of NY’s child care workforce live below the poverty line and 65% receive public benefits as a result of their low income. This leads to issues of high turnover rates and understaffing within the child care system.
This act also proposes a new cost estimation model to accurately pay child care workers and providers for their services, as well as a fund to finance startups in regions where childcare services are unavailable.
By increasing child care affordability, NY will be making an investment in the future, since it is estimated that for every $1 spent on child care and education in New York, “$1.86 is generated in additional spending within the state.”
Homicide is a leading cause of death for pregnant women, making pregnant women and their unborn children especially vulnerable to violence. Pregnancy increases women’s risk of violence perpetrated by intimate partners, including lethal and non-lethal assaults.
These bills would redefine the penal law to include unborn children among those who can be victims of assault or homicide. It would also amend the definition of person, when referring to a victim of assault or homicide, to include "an unborn child at any stage of gestation."
There are exceptions in the bill for women who choose to have an abortion and for persons performing legal abortions on consenting women.
Bills present question whether mothers could be held criminally liable for assaulting their unborn children, by taking drugs or otherwise self-harming, or by performing self-abortions.
For the purpose of these bills, FCLNY believes pregnant women should be exempt from criminal prosecution for any behavior relating to their unborn children, and these bills should be amended accordingly.
“Not having enough clean diapers exposes a baby to many potential health risks.” Approximately, sixteen percent of all kids nationwide currently live in poverty in the US. That’s 11.6 million children and the number is growing. “Notably absent from [most] anti-poverty efforts targeting families is an essential staple for the health of children, diapers.”
This proposed law creates an allowance for the poorest of parents (TANF eligible) to receive assistance in purchasing diapers for their children. The quarterly allowance will provide parents with up to eighty dollars every three months for every eligible child (infants up to 2 years old).
For decades, 48 hour hospital stays in NY for women and children after birth have been covered by private insurance. This has largely excluded economically disadvantaged women who are covered by Medicaid from receiving the same minimum coverage after delivery.
Short hospital stays can be detrimental to the health of the mother and newborn, especially since conditions which affect newborns, including jaundice, are not apparent within the first 24 hours of life. In addition, studies show benefits to both mother and child as a result of longer hospital stays after birth, including, “more stable blood sugar” for infants and less “postpartum depression” for mothers.
These pending bills would extend Medicaid coverage of hospital stays for a minimum of 48 hours following childbirth by natural delivery and 96 hours for childbirth by cesarean section.
The Reproductive Health Act, enacted in 2019, "eradicated all legal protections in law for infants born alive as the result of an abortion procedure," according to NYS legislative memoranda .
The CDC reports that infants subject to abortion are sometimes born alive. This lack of protection leaves these born children vulnerable.
Under this new proposed law, any health care practitioners present during abortions or attempted abortions are required to "exercise the same degree of care to preserve the life and health of the child" (born alive during abortions or attempted abortions) he or she would render to "any other child born alive at the same gestational age" as well as "ensure the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to the hospital." A violation of this provision would be a class A misdemeanor.
Additionally, an individual who intentionally performs or attempts to perform an overt act that kills a child born alive during a botched abortion would be guilty of intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.
In January 2021, the New York State Expert Panel on Postpartum Care, which was created at the recommendation of the Taskforce on Maternal Mortality and Disparate Racial Outcomes, released a report with recommendations. One recommendation includes extending Medicaid complete pregnancy care coverage for a year after giving birth.
These bills extend complete pregnancy care coverage provided by Medicaid from 60 days after delivery to a full year. Not only would the bills extend pregnancy care coverage for a woman’s physical health for a full year after delivery, but access to mental health and substance abuse disorder treatments, to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.
The CDC reports that from 2011 to 2015, about 33% of pregnancy-related deaths occurred within one week to one year after delivery, demonstrating that postpartum women are still vulnerable to serious health complications up to one year after giving birth.
7. Parental Notification Of Abortion On A Minor, A3780.
A double standard exists in NY relevant to minors or children, their engagement in potentially dangerous activities, and standards utilized for their protection.
When parental notification laws for abortion were introduced in Minnesota, for example, teens, 15-17 years, became more sexually responsible, abortion rates for these minors markely decreased and birth rates continued to fall for this population.
The proposed legislation requires that at least one parent or legal guardian of an un-emancipated minor receive a written notification 48 hours prior to the performance of an abortion. The parental notification requirement within the bill contains the US constitutionally required judicial bypass mechanism.
It is estimated that worldwide, there are 24.9 million victims of human trafficking at any given time. The NYS Interagency Taskforce on Human Trafficking’s most recent report found that in 2019, 1,541 people were confirmed victims of human trafficking in NY alone. Reports from the International Organization for Migration estimate that “almost 80 percent of journeys undertaken by victims trafficked internationally cross through official border points, such as airports and land border control points.”
These bills mandate that Port Authority Airports place informational cards and/or signs in a prominent location in their public restrooms. The cards and signs would contain information about services for human trafficking victims and the national human trafficking hotline number.
These bills call for a study of only pregnancy resource centers (organizations which provide help to pregnant women-excluding abortion services or abortion related referrals) in order to examine the unmet health and resource needs of pregnant women in NY. The bills further aim to examine the impact of only these centers on pregnant women, including whether these centers provide accurate, non-coercive health care information.
Unlike the majority of states, NY does not have informed consent laws which require, among other things, that women receive information regarding life-affirming resources for themselves and their unborn children. Georgia, for example, requires abortionists to have materials available that “list agencies that provide alternatives to abortion,” in addition to information concerning fetal development. Health care providers in NY that include abortion services, offer little to no resources to pregnant women regarding abortion alternatives, including information and referrals to material supports to help poor women bring pregnancies to term.
If the Legislature truly wishes to understand the unmet needs of pregnant women in NY, as it should, the study proposed by these bills should also examine the impact of a broader range of providers of pregnancy related women's services, in NY, including those that provide abortion services and referrals, such as Planned Parenthood. FCLNY urges these bills be amended accordingly.
10. Requires SUNY To Offer Medication Abortion, A3322.
This bill would require “SUNY to offer abortion by medication techniques at all on-campus student health centers at colleges or universities within the SUNY system and creates a fund to help finance the implementation of offering such services at SUNY on-campus student health centers.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, medication abortions pose potential health risks to women, and require certain minimum safety standards, protocols the SUNY bill fails to require. Additionally, The Federal Drug Administration documents Mifepristone hospitalizing women and causing numerous deaths from infection, ruptured ectopic pregnancies, and hemorrhaging.