By Alison Fox
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on Monday with the aim of protecting access to contraceptives for women in New York. At the same time, he called on the state Senate to reconvene to pass a bill that would make Roe v. Wade protections state law.
The order would allow women in New York to fill 12 months of contraceptives after a three-month trial period (including for Medicaid recipients) without co-insurance, copays or deductibles. The order would also require insurance companies to cover emergency contraception with no cost-sharing from an out-of-network pharmacy, including copays.
A representative from the governor's office clarified that copays are a subset of cost-sharing, so "no cost-sharing" means that consumers pay no additional fees for the service.
The executive order, which Cuomo signed at a Lower East Side community center, will also cover voluntary sterilization procedures for women and cover over-the-counter contraceptives without cost-sharing. Insurers will also have to publish an accurate and accessible list of all covered contraceptive drugs, devices and other similar products.
"It really is unbelievable the assault on individual rights by this administration," Cuomo said. "And this state has always led on progressive issues, it's always led on individual rights."
Rep. Nydia Velázquez said the state of New York has to become "a buffer" when it comes to women's rights.
"Today we are standing together here in New York to stop this federal assault and take new action to expand reproductive rights in New York and remind everyone that a room of men have no business undermining a woman's constitutional right to choose," she said about the executive order. "Now, more than ever, we must stand up, speak out and take action."
Cuomo on Monday also put pressure on state senators, calling on them to reconvene for a special session to pass a bill that would put Roe v. Wade protections into state law. He said the Assembly has already passed the legislation, and criticized Senate Republicans.
Speaking at a campaign event in Jackson Heights, Cynthia Nixon, who is running against Cuomo for governor, charged that Cuomo hasn't done enough to ensure that Roe v. Wade protections are passed in New York.
"These are things that he has said he's been in favor of, but he obviously hasn't fought hard enough to actually see them passed," Nixon said. "And because he has empowered the Republicans and the [Independent Democratic Conference] over and over and over again, these things have not been brought up for a vote."