Albany Times Union
Reproductive care more than abortion access
Although New York is widely perceived by the rest of the country as an abortion rights safe haven, access to abortion services and other reproductive health care options across New York state is not straightforward.
Gaps in the health care system persist. Low-income communities of color remain underserved and stagnant federal funding for family planning services prevents providers from adequately meeting their patients’ needs.
In a post-roe landscape, increased state financial support will help community-based, safety-net health care providers continue to offer high-quality, culturally competent care and will ensure their resiliency for the long term.
Patients from low-income communities of color already get a disproportionately low level of health care, and that includes reproductive health care — not only abortion, but also myriad other services like contraceptive counseling, STI testing and treatment, gynecology and prenatal care, vaccination services and referrals to other essential health care providers.
Community-based providers such as mine provide essential sexual and reproductive health care services for people historically marginalized by the traditional health system. With longestablished relationships in the community we serve, community-based providers are poised to address health disparities and become the front-runners of sexual and reproductive health justice.
Gov. Kathy Hochul has already taken important steps toward supporting access to abortion and other sexual and reproductive care. Most recently, she endorsed legislation that would bestow prescribing power to pharmacists in New York for certain contraceptives. Additionally, last May, she pledged $35 million to expand abortion provider capacity in anticipation of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
While the governor’s 2024 budget calls for an additional $25 million to continue shoring up abortion access, we would like to see that amount increased to address ongoing needs, as the legality of abortion across the country will remain restricted for the foreseeable future. Out-of-state demand creates pressure on abortion providers, including community-based providers. They may be forced to pare down the time they invest in each patient, limiting their ability to provide deeply personal and accessible services that a traditional health care provider might not.
The need for a robust and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care strategy cannot be overstated. To be a true safe harbor for sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion services, New York must ensure that all providers and patients feel confident about their ability to give and receive quality care, free of judgment and discrimination, in a timely manner, and for the indefinite future.
The governor’s support for abortion access inspires hope that she can establish a robust funding program to help providers offer comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care for all. We look forward to confidently serving a New York that is a haven for everyone in need.