In an initial draft majority opinion that leaked this week, it was revealed that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade– the landmark decision which has upheld the right to an abortion in the U.S. for the last fifty years. If overturned, abortion would immediately be banned in 23 states across the country.
While the leaked Supreme Court opinion is devastating, we must channel our emotions into action and do everything we can to protect reproductive rights in our state. Although New York codified Roe v. Wade in 2019, more must be done to ensure that New York becomes a reproductive sanctuary state by improving access to abortion and protecting individuals who come to our state seeking access to basic health care.
This is why I introduced the FIRE HATE Act alongside Assemblymember Chris Burdick to provide additional protections for individuals who travel to New York for an abortion or to receive gender affirming care. This bill would establish a cause of action for unlawful interference with protected rights, meaning that individuals or organizations seeking to punish people who may have traveled to New York as a safe haven for abortion under other state’s regressive laws may face legal action for trying to infringe upon their rights under New York State law.
I am also the sponsor of the Abortion Access Fund which would create an effective means to improve and protect access to abortion services by providing indiviudals with the option to designate a gift to the fund on their personal income tax returns. Contributions to the fund will be used to pay for operational and programmatic expenses of non-profits which provide support to individuals in need of abortion services, including the funding of medical services, travel, child care, and other logistical costs.
Ultimately, the Abortion Access Fund and FIRE HATE ACT bills are part of an ecosystem of legislation that needs to be passed in order to ensure that New York becomes a true sanctuary state. It is crucial that we do everything in our power at this time to protect reproductive rights in our state.
To learn more about steps New York can take to protect reproductive rights and legislation that my colleagues and I are seeking to advance, listen to my segment on the Brian Lehrer show this week and check out the following articles:
- New York After Roe
- Is New York Really an Abortion Sanctuary State?
- New York Lawmakers Vow to Protect Abortion Access
- New York already codified abortion rights in law. Now Democrats want to take additional steps
- New York lawmakers eye Abortion Access Fund, telehealth abortions in wake of Roe v. Wade upheaval
- Legal protections uncertain for visitors seeking abortions in other states
This week was also Teacher Appreciation Week. Be sure to thank an educator in your life for everything they’ve done!
State Senator Alessandra Biaggi
On May 4th, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the statewide 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate is 7.2%.
On March 2nd, Governor Hochul lifted the statewide mandate that all students and teachers in schools wear face coverings.
New York’s state indoor mask mandate expired on February 10th. However, the state mandate remains in effect for the following locations:
- Public transit
- Correctional facilities
- Homeless shelters
- Domestic violence shelters
- Nursing homes
- Health care facilities
Every household in the U.S. is eligible to receive eight, free at-home COVID tests through the U.S. Postal Service. Sign up at www.covidtests.gov or call 1-800-232-0233 to order your tests now. Tests will ship in 7-12 days.
Americans with health insurance can get up to eight at-home tests for free each month. Contact your health insurer for more information on how to access these tests for free.
Children five and older are eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. As of Jan. 7th, 2022, adolescents 12 and older are eligible for a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least five months after completing their initial vaccine series. Additionally, children 5 - 11 with certain immunocompromising conditions are now eligible for an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least 28 days after completing their initial vaccine series. Pediatric providers, parents, and guardians are encouraged to visit ny.gov/VaxForKids, ny.gov/Boosters, and ny.gov/GetTheVaxFacts for trustworthy information and resources about the COVID-19 vaccine and children and adolescents.
As a reminder, CDC updated its recommendations for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster to include children as young as 12, at least five months after they finish the primary vaccine series.