The COVID-19 public health crisis underscores the need to ensure that women—who are the sole or co-breadwinner in most American households—are not facing additional hurdles to economic security. The wage gap contributes to higher rates of poverty for women and families, especially women of color and their families. At a time when many parents—especially single mothers—face precarious employment and the need to care for children and loved ones, it is crucial that we ensure women and families have access to needed resources and support.
It’s been a busy week up in Albany as New York lawmakers work to finalize the State Budget by April 1. In his budget, Governor Cuomo offered a bold set of proposals to advance women’s rights, building on his leadership on women’s rights and commitment to level the playing field. The Governor’s multi-pronged Women’s Opportunity Agenda is intentionally intersectional, intended to address the multitude of continued hardships and injustices women in the State still face.
Unfortunately, some of these proposals are at risk of getting cut from the final budget due to opposition from the New York State Senate. In this #Me Too moment, we’ve already made very clear that strong polices to combat sexual harassment and assault are more urgent than ever. Below are FOUR other key proposals that must remain in the budget to ensure that New York continues to lead the way in advancing women’s health and economic opportunity:
- Creating a Maternal Mortality Review Board: Every year, dozens of women in New York State die in childbirth. This is simply unacceptable. Governor Cuomo has called for the establishment of a review board comprised of clinical experts who will utilize a multi-disciplinary approach to study every single maternal death in the State, including the racial disparities in the maternal mortality rates.
- Implement Diaper Changing Stations in both Male and Female Restrooms in Newly Constructed or Newly Renovated Buildings with Public Bathrooms: In 2018, it should not be the case that diaper changing stations are only available in women’s restrooms, if at all. New York City recently passed a similar law, and this measure would ensure parents and caregivers are able to care for their babies and children in safe and adequate facilities.
- Pass the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act: With the threat of an ACA rollback constantly looming, it is crucial that New York step up to protect women’s health. As such, legislators must include the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act in the budget, requiring that insurance policies cover FDA-approved contraception, including emergency contraception, so that it remains accessible and affordable.
- Pass Tighter Gun Control Laws Related to Domestic Abusers: The Governor also proposed crucial legislation that would close certain loopholes that allow domestic abusers to still maintain or purchase firearms. Studies have shown such bans can decrease gun-related intimate partner violence by as much as 12 percent.
Contact your New York State Senator and let them know you want women’s rights prioritized in the budget!