Six states standing up for reproductive justice

Blog / July 10, 2019

New York State protects Roe v Wade:

At a time when Roe v. Wade is being threatened like never before, New York state has taken a strong stand for reproductive justice. With the momentous passage of the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) and the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA), New York is set on defending reproductive rights and abortion access – even while other states propose further restrictions and an anti-choice Supreme Court is poised to gut Roe. 

New York’s RHA passed on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, after more than a decade of advocacy by reproductive rights groups and allies across the state and was signed into law by Governor Cuomo. The new law removes abortion from our state’s  criminal laws and puts it in the public heath law – where it should be.  It assures that pregnant patients whose health is threatened have access to an abortion throughout pregnancy. It also enables advanced practice care clinicians to administer abortions within their scope of practice, giving low income and rural communities access to important reproductive healthcare. The CCCA increases access to contraception by putting the requirements of the Affordable Care Act into our state law, ensuring that all forms of FDA-approved contraceptives are covered by insurance without any co-pay. The law also allows for access to a year’s supply of birth control pills at one time and makes it easier to get a prescription for emergency contraception. 

More states doing the right thing on reproductive health

New York isn’t the only state proactively strengthening reproductive rights. Nevada made strides with its “Trust Nevada Women Act. The law strikes down anti-choice measures such as requiring patients to sign an “informed written consent” form that pushed inaccurate anti-choice rhetoric to discourage abortions. Laws criminalizing abortions after 24 weeks were also struck down, along with the practice of invasively questioning patients about their age and marital status.  

Illinois enacted their own Reproductive Health Act which establishes abortion as a fundamental right in their state. The law repeals a 1975 law that criminalized abortion providers. As a part of the new law, insurance must cover abortion and other forms of contraception. Illinois’ protection of reproductive rights is crucial as a sanctuary state for women, as the bordering state of Missouri threatens to close its last abortion clinic

Maine’s legislature passed a bill that enables nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified nurse-midwives to provide abortion services, critically expanding access in the rural state. Maine also passed legislation expanding insurance coverage for abortion, making it the 16th state to require state medicaid to cover abortions. 

Washington passed the Reproductive Health Act for All which includes non-discrimination protections for transgender and nonbinary people and ensures that cancer screenings and birth control are included as reproductive healthcare coverage. In 2018, Washington passed the Reproductive Parity Act, which expanded insurance coverage for abortion in the state. 

Kansas is also making moves. In a 7-1 ruling earlier this year, the Kansas Supreme Court held that the right to access an abortion is protected by the state’s constitution. This landmark court decision protects abortion rights in the state, regardless of the status of Roe on the national level. 

Even though many states are moving backward, there is a strong effort across the country to preserve abortion access for those who need it. Take action to hold the line on abortion rights: support local legislation that protect’s abortion access, vote for pro-choice politicians, and donate to organizations on-the-ground that are providing healthcare or vital funding for abortion services and advocacy.