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RELEASE: Hochul announces $35 million in funding for supporting abortion in NYS. $25 million for grants and reimbursements, $10M security grants for reproductive health centers. Youtube video, transcript.
NYSNYS News


[NOTE: The audio of the 8-minute Q&A is available in the NYSNYS News Mediacast folder]


For Immediate Release: 5/10/2022
GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL


GOVERNOR HOCHUL ANNOUNCES NATION-LEADING $35 MILLION INVESTMENT TO SUPPORT ABORTION PROVIDERS IN NEW YORK

New York Leads the Nation with Major Investment to Directly Support Abortion Providers in Anticipation of Supreme Court Overturning Roe v. Wade

Directs $25 Million to Expand Abortion Provider Capacity and Ensure Access for Patients Seeking Abortion Care in New York

Launches $10 Million for Security Grants to Help Ensure the Safety of Providers and Patients

State Will Begin Distributing Funding to Providers in Time for Expected Supreme Court Decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization


Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a nation-leading $35 million investment to directly support abortion providers in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Governor Hochul directed the Department of Health to create a $25 million Abortion Provider Support Fund for abortion providers in order to both expand capacity and ensure access for patients seeking abortion care in New York. The Governor also announced $10 million for reproductive health care centers to access security grants through the Division of Criminal Justice Services to help ensure the safety of the providers performing this vital care.

"New York has always been at the forefront of the fight for abortion rights, and as the first female Governor of New York, I will not let us go backwards," Governor Hochul said. "I will never stop fighting to make New York a safe harbor for all who need care and a blueprint for other states to follow. To truly guarantee that everyone who needs an abortion can get one in New York State, we must ensure that providers have the resources, capacity, and protections they need. This landmark funding will get resources into the hands of clinics who need our help -- safeguarding access to abortion in our state and setting an example for the rest of the nation to follow.

Abortion Provider Support Fund

Governor Hochul today directed the Department of Health to allocate $25 million to create the State's first abortion provider fund and the nation's largest such fund. The Department of Health will release an expedited application for both grant and reimbursement requests from providers, and will begin distributing funds to providers by the time a final Supreme Court decision would be released.

Security Grants for Reproductive Health Centers

Governor Hochul also directed the Division of Criminal Justice Services to administer $10 million in funding for safety and security capital grants for abortion providers and reproductive health centers to further secure their facilities and ensure the safety of patients and staff. A request for proposals to allow organizations to apply is expected to be issued by the time a final Supreme Court decision would be released. Application of this new funding will be modeled after Governor Hochul's Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes program, which provides grants to strengthen safety and security measures at buildings owned or operated by nonprofit organizations at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs, or missions.

Under Governor Hochul's leadership, New York has taken actions to provide access to quality, affordable reproductive healthcare - including abortion services. Earlier this year, the Department of Health finalized regulations aligning New York law with clinical standards to remove barriers to service delivery, including abortion via telemedicine, and last week sent guidance to providers regarding their legal right to provide abortion services. The Governor has also convened an Abortion Access Working Group, meeting regularly with patients, providers, and advocates to guide state policy and respond to on-the-ground needs, and enshrined into law a requirement for health plans to cover abortion services without cost-sharing in the State Budget.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, "Abortion rights are enshrined into New York State law, and New York will always provide safe access to abortions for all who need them. As we face Roe's reversal, thanks to Governor Hochul's leadership, we will not diminish these fundamental health care rights, but expand, increase, and broaden them. Through this nation-leading fund and increased support, we are getting resources directly to the providers who care for New Yorkers seeking abortions and those who are - and will be - coming to New York to seek this care."

Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Rossana Rosado said, "Governor Hochul is committed to ensuring that New York State, a national leader in the Women's Rights Movement, does everything it can to protect a woman's right to choose. We know family planning organizations that provide affordable, routine health care are often targeted because they also offer reproductive health services. These security grants will help enhance the safety of staff and individuals seeking care at these organizations."

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "Rights are only as good as your ability to access them, especially for time-sensitive reproductive care. As New York stands at the national forefront of the pro-choice fight, we must ensure that these services are adequately supported so that no one is boxed out of care due to strained resources. In addition to actions previously taken by the Senate Majority to codify Roe v. Wade into state law, allowing us to withstand any Supreme Court decision, we are proactively bolstering our reproductive healthcare sector and ensuring they can absorb any influx of patients."

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "New York was the first State to enact laws safeguarding women's reproductive health in 1970, just three years before Roe v. Wade offered federal protection. More than 50 years later, the U.S. Supreme Court may be dragging us back in time and threatening women's access to family planning services. Women will not be treated as second-class citizens and told what to do with their bodies here in New York. My Assembly colleagues and I are proud to partner with Governor Hochul and Senate Majority Leader Steward-Cousins to bolster the resources of providers in this state to ensure they have the capacity to meet the vital healthcare needs of the people they serve."

State Senator Cordell Cleare said, "As Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Women's Issues, I commend the Governor for her initial $25 million commitment to support the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program. I pledge to work tirelessly with all of my colleagues to build upon this funding and pass a spectrum of bills to ensure that New York is a beacon for women's health and reproductive freedom."

Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts Interim President and CEO Georgana Hanson said, "This is an historic and important investment in the abortion provider network which will be used to expand capacity for providing care across our state and further protect the safety of our patients, providers, and staff. We know this will be a long fight, with evolving challenges along the way. Together, we must do all we can to ensure New York remains a beacon for bodily autonomy, reproductive rights, and freedom to access abortion care. The Governor's leadership at this pinnacle moment is crucial and this investment imperative. We look forward to our continued work with the Governor and the legislature to expand the accessibility of abortion care in NY to all who need it regardless of who they are, where they live or how much money they make."

National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund President Andrea Miller said, "In an ideal world, no one would have to leave their communities to access abortion care. But as the Supreme Court clears the way for states to ban abortion, we expect that people across the nation will turn to New York for care. With this $25M allocation, Governor Hochul is taking a key step in ensuring that our state is prepared by expanding provider capacity and clinic safety across the state. In addition to this allocation, we will continue to work with the legislature to secure funding to ensure that all individuals who seek abortion care in New York can do so without financial barriers."

Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York President and CEO Michelle Casey said, "As a provider, a timely infusion of funds ensures we can grow our capacity to meet this moment. Today, we face many challenges meeting the needs in our communities, and that need will only grow as states across our country severely limit or ban abortion access. We are in a fight to make sure everyone has the power to control their own bodies, lives, and futures. We believe your body is your own. You and only you should control your personal medical decisions. No politicians, no bans, and no court ruling should ever interfere in your ability to access abortion. As a trusted provider of abortion care, we want to ensure high quality and timely care is available to all who seek it. This funding will help make that mission a reality."

Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union Donna Lieberman said, "Our state first opened its doors to those who need abortion care five decades ago, and three years before the Court decided Roe. As federal reproductive rights are decimated and states continue to ban access, New York will be a beacon for people who need abortion care including women, girls, transgender men, and non-binary people. In New York today, the Reproductive Health Act protects abortion in our public health law but this isn't enough. To truly lead the way and create meaningful access, there is even more New York must do, and today, New York has taken a necessary step to meet the moment by providing $25 million to fund abortion care. We cannot stop until abortion is accessible for anyone who needs it. The NYCLU will work tirelessly to ensure New York creates protections in our state constitution by passing an Equality Amendment, invests funding needed to access care, and ensures that anyone needing care knows that, in New York, abortion is your right."

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists District II Executive Director Christa R. Christakis said, "The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) District II is proud to stand with Governor Hochul and the elected officials who understand the importance of prioritizing funding for abortion care givers, including ob-gyns, during this critical moment in our nation's history. Their swift response and proactive action fulfills immediate needs to support access in our state. We look forward to additional proactive work and partnership to ensure we meet the many challenges of those seeking abortion care."

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For Immediate Release: 5/10/2022
GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL


VIDEO, AUDIO & RUSH TRANSCRIPT: GOVERNOR HOCHUL ANNOUNCES NATION-LEADING $35 MILLION INVESTMENT TO SUPPORT ABORTION PROVIDERS IN NEW YORK

Governor Hochul: "To truly ensure that anyone seeking an abortion in New York has access to them, we have to ensure that the providers have the resources and the capacity to accommodate all patients who walk through their doors... that's why we're taking immediate action, starting today, to deliver $35 million in unprecedented funding to urgently support abortion providers to provide this access to the vital care."

Hochul: "We refuse to go backwards. We have fought too long and hard for this access and for these rights. And New York has always led the way when it comes to ensuring these kind of rights... as the first female Governor of the State of New York, this is a fight I am willing to take on. We will roll up our sleeves and let people know where our values are. We're not backing down, and will not stand idly by when rights of women across the entire nation are destroyed."


Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a nation-leading $35 million investment to directly support abortion providers in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Governor Hochul directed the Department of Health to create a $25 million Abortion Provider Support Fund for abortion providers in order to both expand capacity and ensure access for patients seeking abortion care in New York. The Governor also announced $10 million for reproductive health care centers to access security grants through the Division of Criminal Justice Services to help ensure the safety of the providers performing this vital care.

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of the event is available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor's remarks is available below:

Well, thank you, Andrea, and I want to thank you, and all the volunteers and the workers at NIRH for never giving up the fight. You have been sounding the alarm literally for years, and people never dreamed that this day would come, but thank God we've had you on the front lines. And so, I look forward to continuing strengthening our partnership going forward.

And I also want to acknowledge some of the other participants here today to address this this urgent issue. And that is the co-chairs of the Legislative Pro-Choice Caucus. Our great friend Senator Liz Krueger, as well as Assemblymember Karines Reyes, and I want to thank them for being on the forefront of this battle, as well as Michelle Casey, someone I've known a long time, who's the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central Western New York. I want to thank Attorney General Tish James and our legislative sponsors of other ideas that are so important, as we work together to ensure that we have the rights enshrined here in our state, but also provide access to abortion. Like millions of Americans, I was horrified by that draft Supreme Court decision that came out last week. Just absolutely unconscionable to fathom what the majority of the Supreme Court is willing to do to something we have taken for granted and relied upon for half a century.

And for the sake of women across this country, I hope that that is not the final decision, but I'm going to have to proceed on the assumption that it is going to be. But we look to also reestablish, here in the State of New York, that access to reproductive healthcare is a human right. And we will defend that right to have an abortion, with the full power of New York State Government. And we'll ensure that every single person in need of care receives that care, and will never stop fighting to make sure that New York, and women from all over who are seeking safe, accessible abortion service, receive them.

But to truly ensure that anyone seeking an abortion in New York has access to them, we have to ensure that the providers have the resources and the capacity to accommodate all patients who walk through their doors. It's simple, if we're going to guarantee the right to an abortion, we have to guarantee access to an abortion. And I've said last week, we're not just playing defense, we're playing offense. And that's why we're taking immediate action, starting today, to deliver $35 million in unprecedented funding to urgently support abortion providers to provide this access to the vital care.

The abortion services provider fund will get immediate help, resources for their clinics, while safeguarding access. And this is a nation-leading response. There's been a lot of talk about doing something. But here in New York, those that know us, we don't just talk, we take action. So today, I'm directing the Department of Health to create New York's first fund ever to support abortion providers. Twenty-five million dollars, we'll expand capacity and access for patients seeking abortion care, largest fund of its kind in our nation. One other state has a similar fund, but nowhere near the scale, we were the first large state to launch this direct support for abortion providers, here in the State of New York.

But in addition to this direct support to providers to make sure that they can be prepared for what will be an influx of patients, we also to make sure that these facilities are safe, and then the workers who go there, the clinical staff, the healthcare providers, the doctors, as well as the patients know, that they are safe when they walk down the street and enter the doors, because we are in a very different time right now. So we are announcing $10 million in security grants for reproductive health care centers.

And no one should feel unsafe accessing healthcare, abortion care, and no one should feel unsafe providing that healthcare as well. So, we have to be proactive. We have to get these security measures in place now. And we have seen the threats and actions, the action of anti-abortion violence, and the climate is getting more extreme every single day. So it's only going to get worse as this decision is rendered in the next few weeks and we need to be ready. And we will be ready here in the state of New York.

In the meantime, we'll continue to explore every option available in the short-term and the long-term, working with our providers, our legislators, and our advocates on many different proposals. Today is about taking action. However, we'll take action, not just talk about it in the future, but take it right now. So, there's an urgent need to provide this access. I'm really proud that New York will lead the nation, and hopefully set an example for the other states to realize that all of us have a responsibility to welcome with open arms those who need these services. As well as make sure New Yorkers, New York women, have complete access without wait times, that they don't have their services disrupted either.

We've been fighting this battle for far too long my friends. This was a battle my mother had to fight in her thirties. I had this fight when I was in my thirties, and now my daughter, Katie, in her thirties. This is a fight that her generation is dealing with as well. But I sure as heck want to make sure that we don't have this battle still lingering when my brand new granddaughter, Sophia, is in her thirties.

So we are laying down the marker today. We're saying that we refuse to go backwards. We have fought too long and hard for this access and for these rights. And New York has always led the way when it comes to ensuring these kind of rights. When you think about the women, the courageous women at Seneca Falls, all those who demanded autonomy over their bodies, and their right to not be held as property of a husband. We'd like to think we've come a long way, but I feel we're going backwards and not forward in this country.

That is why we are called upon, as New York women. New York women have to continue to lead this fight with our male allies, and throw down the gauntlet and say "No more." We're not going backwards. We know that here in the State of New York, we had access to abortion rights three years before Roe v. Wade. And we saw a huge influx of people come here at that time. Now we have to be ready. And I'll tell you, this is deeply personal.

As the first female Governor of the State of New York, this is a fight I am willing to take on. We will roll up our sleeves and let people know where our values are. We're not backing down, and will not stand idly by when rights of women across the entire nation are destroyed. So I am proud that we are able to continue these battles.

In 2019, we took the major step of ensuring that our state law has codified the rights within Roe v. Wade. I was proud to preside over the Senate at that time. It was a huge point of pride for all of us in 2019. And earlier this past month, we made sure that our budget reflected those same values, and said that insurance companies must cover abortion services as well.

So we're going to keep examining our regulations, make sure that our laws are being enforced. We also are calling on social media companies to fight misinformation. We did that last fall, when I stood with Senator Gillibrand in Central Park, saying that these platforms have to make sure that the lies stop. We see how lies like the Big Lie can perpetrate through society. We have to stop the lies about abortion access and what that's all about.

And we're calling on the federal government at a time when we have Democrats in charge, to not just codify Roe V Wade themselves nationally, but also repeal the Hyde Amendment so support can go to women all across this nation to receive something that we consider a basic human right. So today is not our first countermeasure in the fight being waged against denying abortion access. We'll keep playing offense. It's where I'm most comfortable on the playing field, being aggressive on these issues.

And we'll do whatever it takes to defend the rights of not just New York women, but women all across this nation, New York will be there. We'll be there for them, provide essential healthcare. And so we finally say, "Don't mess with the State of New York." We are putting in the resources in place to make sure our providers and our patients have whatever they need to exercise those very basic human rights.

So thank you very much. And I appreciate everyone who's joining this battle and we are ready.

...

I want to thank everyone for participating today to continue sounding the message loud and clear, that we will take on this fight. It's one we wish we did not have to deal with, we have so many other issues affecting our families. Parents trying to get back to work, and moms trying to manage childcare and the cost of living going up.

And so, this should not have to even be on the radar screen, no one should have to worry about this, but unfortunately as we've seen, elections have consequences. And the election of Donald Trump could draw a direct line from that to the appointment of three Supreme Court Justices who are hostile to women's rights, despite what they said during their confirmation hearings. And lesson learned by everyone.

And that's why we're in this battle right now, and the State of New York will embrace the opportunity to continue to lead in this space as we always have, and let people know that this is an area that is critically important to all of us as women, as human beings, and fellow Americans. So we'll be there to provide the support and the resources, and I want to thank all my partners on this call as we begin our journey forward to try and undo and mitigate what could be devastating impacts on the lives of women, particularly women of color, people from communities where they don't have resources, where this is an option for them to just reclaim their lives. We have to fight back on their behalf.

So I want to thank everyone very much for joining us today.

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