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Opportunity and Rights for New York’s Women and Girls: Access to Fertility Treatment.

Opportunity and Rights for New York's Women and Girls: Access to Fertility Treatment. - blog post image

The Alliance for Fertility Preservation had the extreme pleasure of attending the press conference where the Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled his “Opportunity and Rights Agenda for New York’s Women and Girls, 2018.”

It was a packed audience made up of some men, but mostly women at the New-York Historical Society on January 11th. Being there first hand, we can share that hearing both Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor, and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chair of the New York Women’s Suffrage Commission, speak before bringing a panel on stage and was particularly inspiring. It was evident how strongly they feel about the goals of the NY State Council on Women and Girls that aims to affect real change on women and girl’s health, safety, education, workforce equity, leadership, child care, and family rights.

The recent movement of “Me too” was referenced often throughout the hour-long presentation. DeRosa insightfully stated, “If 2017 was the year we started speaking up, 2018 is the year that people need to start listening.” It was clear from her speech and Hochul’s remarks that included, “It’s over. We will no longer be treated differently because of our chromosomes.” these ladies mean business.

The majority of the policies and laws mentioned will go into effect in 2018, regardless of what happens at the federal level, and as DeRosa wrote in her forward to the Report on the Status of New York Women and Girls: 2018 Outlook handout given to those in attendance, “We will advance equality for women and protect our rights against federal attempts to stall and undermine us.”

This includes the initiative to improve access to IVF and fertility preservation, the key provision for our work. The Governor’s office will be evaluating the best approach for incorporating coverage for in vitro fertilization into New York’s infertility mandate and for ensuring individuals have access to fertility preservation services when appropriate.

The report states, “New York law(s) need to be updated to ensure individuals have access to fertility preservation services when appropriate. The Superintendent’s study shall also make recommendations to ensure that New Yorkers receiving chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or other medical services that may compromise their fertility have coverage for the medical services necessary to preserve their ability to have children in the future.”

The missions laid out, the enthusiasm, and the determination was palpable in the room, but there’s still work to be done. If you are a New York resident, your voice is needed more than ever. Contact your elected officials and let them know that this pro-family bill will directly impact and better the lives of their constituents. We also ask you to be sure to follow up on social media for continued updates and information on how you can help be a part of reproductive change.

-Jay Palumbo

January 11, 2018

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