Mayor de Blasio and the City Council have agreed to spend $250,000 to help women cover the cost of terminating pregnancies, announcing that New York City now becomes the “first city in the nation to directly fund abortion care.”
Is this pragmatic policymaking or progressive posturing?
New York City women, unlike many women in other states, are already largely able to access safe, affordable abortion options, regardless of their income. Many private insurers cover the cost of abortions, and Medicaid, which pays for roughly half the abortions performed here, foots the bill for poor and undocumented women. The city’s public hospitals offer health services, including abortions, regardless of ability to pay.
The city also already gives hundreds of thousands of dollars to Planned Parenthood, a major abortion provider that helps subsidize services for women of limited means.
The new quarter-million-dollar grant is aimed at helping a contingent of indeterminate size: Cash-strapped New Yorkers with federal insurance plans (which, per the Hyde Amendment, don’t cover the procedure), or those who are concerned about family members seeing their billing statements. Plus, women coming here from states with tough new laws limiting the procedure.
Anti-abortion laws are proliferating; the number of people traveling to end a pregnancy is likely to rise.
But there’s evidence that they are getting help from donor-funded nonprofits. The New York Abortion Access Fund, where these taxpayer dollars will go, told the Daily News they have yet to turn away a single woman who sought help in the past two years.
Our state might be tops when it comes to providing abortions, but we rank 30th in the country when it comes to maternal mortality. That’s a problem closer to home that needs every extra penny it can get.