On Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced a budget deal for the next fiscal year that would allocate $250,000 to fund reproductive care for those seeking abortions.
The money will go to the New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF), an organization that works to make abortion services more accessible by mitigating financial and logistical obstacles that make seeking an abortion more difficult for low-income individuals. NYAAF will directly pay the bills for those seeking abortion services in New York City who reach out to the fund. Based on the average cost of abortion care services, this new funding is estimated to provide 500 abortions to those who are not covered by insurance or Medicaid.
This marks the first time that any city has allocated money to directly fund abortion. New York City has funded general reproductive care through Planned Parenthood in the past; however, this funding will be allocated exclusively for abortion services.
Though 500 patients makes up a small portion of those seeking abortions in New York City, the funding announcement is a symbolic and tangible move by the city’s leadership amidst a nationwide increase in the passage of restrictive abortion laws. With an increasingly divisive rhetoric in the United States surrounding reproductive rights, the actions of Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson reflect the strength of the reproductive rights movement in its work to ensure that individuals have access to reproductive healthcare.
The state of New York is a pioneer in the area of reproducitve rights: one of the most progressive abortion laws in the nation, the Reproductive Health Act, was signed into law in January by Governor Andrew Cuomo. This law codified the right to an abortion in New York, securing reproductive rights in the state if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Reproductive Health Act expands the criteria for receiving an abortion, expands the availability of reproductive care, and protects individuals who have received an abortion from any prosecution.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 1/24/19; New York Times 6/14/19; CNN 6/15/19; Think Progress 6/15/19