This summer, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that restricts access to contraception for women employed by private companies. In Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, the court decided in a 5-4 decision "for-profit companies can use religious objections to avoid paying for contraception coverage required under Obamacare." This decision limits access to certain kinds of contraception for women whose employers object to them. I don't need to tell you that the only people who should be concerned about what kind of health care a woman needs are 1. the woman herself and 2. her doctor.
I'm proud of the fact that President Obama and Congress were able to pass an Affordable Care Act that has dramatically increased insurance rates and made contraception more accessible for millions of Americans. The new law saved women $483 million in contraceptive costs last year! But despite these best efforts, Republicans in Congress and our court systems are doing their best to roll back the progress we've made by using unsound logic and playing politics with women's health -- and their wallets.
Just this weekend, all but seven of Texas' abortion clinics were shuttered, leaving massive swaths of Texas without abortion care. A federal appeals court allowed Gov. Rick Perry's devastating legislation to take effect and now more than one of every six Texan women will live at least 150 miles from a clinic. Rob Astorino has gone on the record saying "We're marveling at what they've done in Texas under Governor Perry's leadership." I can only hope this doesn't mean bringing draconian legislation that would harm access to necessary health care for millions of New York women.
It's time for New York women to be protected from a single sweeping decision by the Supreme Court, or legislation by Congressional Republicans that chips away at women's rights. The formation of the Women's Equality Party sends a strong message that we must pass our 10 point plan in Albany, which includes applying the full standards of Roe v. Wade in our state. Passing this legislation means that no matter what happens nationally, a woman's right to choose is protected here in New York.
Women in New York have never been a group to idly stand by and wait for change to happen. We made change happen at the first ever women's rights convention at Seneca Falls and this November, we have another historic opportunity to fight for full equality by establishing the Women's Equality Party. When 50,000 New Yorkers vote for Governor Cuomo on the Women's Equality line, the party will become a reality. We can make this happen and build the momentum to elect the pro-women and pro-choice allies in Congress, State Senate and Assembly we need representing the women of New York in Washington and Albany.