If you are a New York resident and you’re looking for a way to help ensure access to abortion in your state, here it is. The New York Department of Financial Services has proposed a new regulation that will make sure women have access to medically necessary abortion as a component of comprehensive health insurance coverage. The proposed rule would not only help women – it would also help cement New York’s status as a progressive stronghold in the face of a federal administration committed to rolling back reproductive health protections. But, the proposed rule has a major problem that the Department should resolve before it becomes final: It includes a “religious exemption” for employers that don’t want to have to comply with the rule. We need your help to make sure New York gets it right.
New York is making a move in the right direction
The proposed rule clarifies that New York insurance law requires all health insurance plans in the state to include coverage for medically necessary abortions, with no costs to the patient. This means that patients could access abortion without having to pay co-payments or co-insurance, or having to first meet annual deductibles. Many women who seek abortion are struggling financially already and often have to delay abortion care in order to raise funds for the procedure, if not lose access to it entirely. New York’s commitment to ensuring women access to abortion without cost-sharing will help women access the care they need when they need it.
But New York’s proposed rule creates a big exception for employers who oppose abortion
However, the proposed rule creates a religious exemption. It even goes so far as to allow a huge range of both non-profit and closely held-for profit organizations to refuse to cover abortion. This is a dangerous and unnecessary exemption that allows bosses to impose their religious beliefs on their employees.
We are asking New York residents to take action to ensure that where you work doesn’t determine whether you have access to comprehensive health insurance that includes abortion coverage. Submit your comments supporting the proposed rule but opposing the exemption.
Take Action by midnight on Monday, March 27, 2017:
Simply send an email to Nathaniel.Dorfman@dfs.ny.gov using the following text, or your own:
“Dear Superintendent Maria Vullo,
My name is ____, and [I live in NY/I am a longtime New Yorker/etc. Any desired personal story.]
I want to thank the Department for clarifying that medically necessary abortions must be included as part of basic health insurance coverage and requiring coverage for this care without costs to the patient. However, I am deeply troubled that the Department has included a religious exemption that would allow any non-profit organization or closely held for-profit organization whose management has a religious objection to abortion to refuse to provide this coverage. Employers shouldn’t be allowed to impose their religious beliefs onto their employees. Therefore, while I strongly support the Department’s proposed coverage of medically necessary abortion without cost-sharing, I urge the Department to remove the exemption in the final rule.”
Thank you for standing up for New York women!