NOW-NYC advocates for laws that defend our rights and break barriers for women and girls. We work to advance economic opportunity and fairness in the workplace, protect and expand reproductive rights, and strengthen our criminal justice system for victims of gender-based violence.
New York City Legislation
Empower Home Healthcare Workers in New York City
Home healthcare workers in New York City often face abusive working conditions and have been mandated to take on 24-hour shifts for days on end, which not only affects their health and ability to care for their own families but also their ability to provide the best care for their patients. Bill 0175-2022 would limit any single shift to 12 hours within any 24-hour period and set the maximum hours in any workweek at 50. NOW urges the new women majority-run New York City Council to support this critical legislation that will improve working conditions in an industry that is comprised mostly of low-wage immigrant women who are helping New Yorkers care for our loved ones.
Bill Number:Int 0175-2022
Sponsors:City Council Member Christopher Marte
New York State Legislation
Protecting New York Doctors Providing Telemedicine Abortion Care
This bill will allow New York licensed clinicians to provide telemedicine abortion services to women beyond the state’s borders and extends legal protection to those doctors, clinicians and pharmacists from criminal prosecution in New York, as well as loss of license or malpractice insurance. It will protect medical professionals from attempts at extradition or attempts at issuing subpoenas for patient medical records by law enforcement outside of New York. Since Roe v. Wade was overturned last summer, millions of people across the country now live in states with no local access to abortion care.
Sponsors:Assembymember Karina Reyes / Senator Shelley Mayers
Repealing the Statute of Limitations on Sex Trafficking
The continual flow of state and federal cases have clearly exposed the callous, brutal nature of the third-party profiteers/promoters who use threats, blackmail, trickery and violence to recruit, coerce and force the most vulnerable individuals into prostitution/the sex trade. This bill is critical to New York’s ability to protect survivors of human trafficking and hold those who exploit them for profit accountable.The trauma, fear and stigma associated with being bought and sold in prostitution and abused and threatened by pimps can take years to overcome, and delays in reporting these crimes of sexual violence. New York’s rape laws statute of limitations have been eliminated and extended and the Child’s Victim Act, followed by the Adult Survivors Act, expanded the window for survivors of sex abuse to file civil suits.
Sponsor:Senator Cordell Cleare / Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz
New York Cyber Flashing Act
Cyber flashing is an increasingly common form of sexual harassment impacting women in New York City and across the state. This modern form of harassment can take a number of forms and often involves the digital nonconsensual transmission of lewd still images, particularly of male genitalia and videos of male genitalia, nudes, and pornographic material, via text, email, direct message, or airdrop. NOW is urging lawmakers to support legislation that will make cyberflashing a violation offense under New York law and recognize this unwanted behavior as not only abusive but unlawful.
Sponsors:Senator Skoufis / Assemblymember Paulin
Sex Trade Survivors Justice & Equality Act
The legislation — based on a progressive legal framework supported by survivors of prostitution and sex trafficking now known as the Equality Model — decriminalizes people in prostitution in New York, while also vacating and expunging past convictions. It also gives them access to comprehensive, trauma-informed services and options to exit the sex trade should they wish to do so. The proposed law will also hold accountable those who cause lifelong harm, profit off of and drive prostitution and sex trafficking. The legislation will continue to uphold statutes that hold accountable pimps, traffickers, brothel owners and illicit massage parlor owners, strengthen anti-trafficking laws, and address sex buying through a fine using an income-based fine scale.
Sponsors:Senator Liz Krueger / Assemblymember Pamela Hunter
Empower Home Healthcare Workers
Home healthcare workers are providing essential care for seniors across New York, but they face harsh and unfair working conditions. Often forced to take on 24-hour shifts for days on end, they care for patients around-the-clock, even though they are only paid for 13 hours of each 24-hour shift. This legislation will prohibit the shameful and unconscionable practice of the 24-hour workdays that harm workers and put patients at risk, by limiting shifts to 12 hours and capping required hours per week.
Sponsors:Senator Persaud / Assemblymember Epstein
Make Comprehensive Sexual Education a Reality
This legislation would require comprehensive sexuality instruction for students in grades K-12, which would address age and developmentally appropriate physical, mental, emotional and social dimensions of human sexuality and would reflect the national sexuality education standards. Download and read our memo of support below.
Sponsors:Senator Brouk / Assemblymember Nolan
Ban Virginity Testing
The invasive and sexist practice of so-called “virginity testing” is still happening in 2020 in the U.S. Subjecting girls to any form of “virginity testing” is sexual violence and a direct violation of their bodily integrity and privacy. The practice is a reflection of the antiquated standards society still hold for girls and young women, and it is in no way accepted as valid by the medical community. In fact, the United Nations and the World Health Organization co-wrote a statement calling to end virginity testing around the world. This legislation would ban virginity testing in New York State, prohibiting medical practitioners from performing these examinations and subjecting them to penalties if they breach the ban. Any “virginity tests” performed outside of a professional medical setting would be considered sexual assault under the proposal.
Sponsors:Senator Persaud / Assemblymember Solages
Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act: Biden Signs Reauthorization!
In 2022 the Violence Against Women Act was at long last reauthorized and strengthened and includes significant funding for survivors, service providers, and prevention efforts. Critically, the legislation restores tribal jurisdiction over crimes of child violence, sexual violence, sex trafficking, and stalking.
Bill Number:H.R. 1620
Sponsor:Representative Jackson Lee
Women’s Health Protection Act
Protects the right to abortion access by creating a safeguard against medically unnecessary restrictions or bans. Specifically, the Act would protect abortion access from bans prior to viability, restrictions on the ability to access medication abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy, requirements that doctors provide medically inaccurate or even false information to abortion seekers, and mandates for pregnant people to undergo invasive ultrasounds or waiting periods before allowing them to have an abortion.
Bill Number:H.R. 3755 / S. 1975
Sponsors:Congresswoman Chu / Senator Blumenthal
Black Maternal Health Momnibus
A series of bills that will address the black maternal mortality rate. The bills will: invest in housing, transportation, nutrition, and other social determinants of health that influence maternal health outcomes; provide funding to community-based organizations; study maternal health risks facing women veterans and invest in VA maternity care coordination; grow and diversify the perinatal workforce; improve data collection to better understand the causes and solutions of the maternal health crisis; invest in maternal mental health care and substance use disorder treatments; improve maternal health care for incarcerated women; invest in digital tools like telehealth for underserved areas; and incentivize high-quality maternity care and continuity of health insurance coverage from pregnancy through one year postpartum.
Bill Number:See the nine separate bills (2020)
Sponsors:Congresswomen Underwood and Adams / Senator Harris
Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act
Would ensure access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare for all women, regardless of their income level or source of their insurance coverage. If passed, this legislation will repeal the 1976 Hyde Amendment that made it illegal to use federal funds for abortion coverage.
Bill Number:H.R. 1692
The Family Medical Leave Modernization Act
Ensures that employees are able to take leave in order to care for their loved ones by (1) expanding medical leave eligibility to employees who work for employers with 15 employees or more, (2) extending the amount of leave an employee can take to 24 hours in a 12 month period and 4 hours in a 30 day period, (3) broadening the definition of family to incorporate more caregiving relationships.
Bill Number:H.R. 5456
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is a federal bill that prohibits discrimination in the workplace against individuals affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Pregnant women, especially women of color, often endure poor working conditions and economic insecurity. This bill requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for those who are pregnant, maintain acceptable work conditions, and provide employees with alternative solutions to paid or unpaid leave when possible.