NY Lawmakers on the Move, June 30, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

AG James calls on Google to address dangerous amplification of faker pregnancy centers

Attorney General Letitia James

State Attorney General Letitia James yesterday called on Google to correct search results that direct individuals seeking abortions to dangerous and misleading anti-abortion clinics in New York. 

In a letter to Google, James expressed grave concerns regarding the failure of Google Maps to distinguish between facilities that offer abortion services and those that do not, which could lead individuals seeking abortions to visit crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) for care. 

The CPCs’ websites often misrepresent that they provide reproductive health care services — including abortion — but in reality, they do not provide abortion or any health care services, and frequently do not have any licensed medical providers on staff. Because of their misleading sites, CPCs are often included in Google Maps search results for “abortion” when in fact they exist solely to discourage pregnant individuals from having an abortion. 

James’ urged Google to take immediate action to ensure that results for abortion providers in New York are accurate.

“Given the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, it is more important than ever that New York stands strong in providing safe access to abortion,” said James. “New Yorkers, and others traveling to the state, should trust that Google Maps will provide accurate information and direct them to real and safe care. My office will do whatever is necessary to work with Google to make these changes and ensure that people can locate the reproductive health care facilities that they need.”

Due to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization laws banning abortions in states across the nation, pregnant individuals seeking abortions will be forced to travel to states where abortion remains legal, including New York. Individuals often rely on search engines like Google to find abortion providers and facilities but currently, Google Map search results don’t distinguish between clinics that offer abortion services and anti-abortion entities like CPCs. By relying on Google’s search results in these cases, individuals are unknowingly directed towards dangerous situations and harmful experiences.

City Council Members call on Albany to take action on Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program 

City Council Member Gale Brewer
City Council Member Tiffany Cabán
City Councilwoman Amanda Farias

City Council Members Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan), Tiffany Cabán (D-Queens), Amanda Farías (D-Bronx), Farah Louis (D-Brooklyn), and Julie Menin (D-Manhattan) yesterday  sent a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie calling on Albany pass into law during the June 30 special session; S9078 (Cleare)/ A10148A (Gonzalez-Rojas) which would create a “Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program,” and S.8797B (Krueger)/ A10468A (Seawright) which would amend New York State’s constitution to prohibit discrimination based on a person’s race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, and sex — including pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Council Member Farah Louis
City Council Member Farah Louis
City Council Member Julie Menin

The special session has been convened as a response to the Supreme Court’s June 23 ruling on NYSRPA v. Bruen, which declared New York’s gun laws unconstitutional. On June 24, the Court ruled on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade.

Without the protection of Roe v. Wade, 36,000,000 women and people able to become pregnant across 26 states will likely lose some, if not all, access to a safe abortion and reproductive healthcare services. 

It is estimated that New York State would be the nearest provider of care for 190,000 to 280,000 more women of reproductive age. 

The Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program would protect vulnerable people seeking access to a safe abortion by providing funding to abortion providers and non-profit organizations whose primary function is to facilitate access to abortion care.

The Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization highlights the importance of codifying rights. If the Equality Amendment is not passed by August 10, the earliest the amendment could be on the ballot is 2026. 

“Banning abortion only bans safe abortion and condemns women to suffering, hardship, and possible death. Generations have fought for autonomy over women’s bodies and this ruling pushes the United States backwards – and could threaten other privacy rights that were Court-established precedent,” said Brewer. “States will now be divided into abortion deserts and abortion havens. New York will remain a haven- having codified Roe into law – but we must stand in solidarity with those living in abortion deserts, deprived of access to safe reproductive health services.”

“The illegitimate, far right wing extremist Supreme Court majority’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade is a searing affront to human rights, a presage to immense death and suffering, and a call to us to get organized, militant, and revolutionary,” said Cabán. As we build toward that, we need programs like The Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program, to ensure that New York is a safe city for all those needing, performing, or assisting in a safe abortion.” 

“It is critical we continue to do everything we can to protect reproductive rights and abortion access in New York State. Passing the Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program to provide increased funding to abortion access centers is a necessary step,” said Farías.

“As callous political attacks and infringements on our freedoms and reproductive rights…we must stand up for those without representation and those with challenging situations.  The Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program will allow individuals and families to safely seek support services for abortions in New York,” said Louis. 

Rajkumar celebrates Woodhaven resolution

Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar

Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar (D-Queens) this week celebrated the passage of her resolution recognizing the Queens neighborhood of Woodhaven’s founding and unique history.

The celebration culminated with Rajkumar and her staff entering a Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association meeting  with balloons, cake, and everything needed for a fabulous celebration of Woodhaven’s 187th birthday.

The resolution recounts the history, great people, and notable sights of Woodhaven. This includes Woodhaven’s treasure of Forest Park, its storied carousel, and tales of legend Mae West. 

Woodhaven has emerged as an Art Haven, as home to the Woodhaven Art Circle and concerts at Forest Park, sponsored by the Assemblywoman. The neighborhood boasts a storied history of successive migrations, beginning as Native American territory and later a settlement by the Dutch, before John R. Pitkin purchased the land to form Woodhaven in 1835. 

Today, there are historic small businesses, such as Neil’s Tavern, the oldest bar in New York City, and Schmidt’s Candy, which has provided the finest confectioneries since 1925. 

“I was proud to lead the State Assembly in honoring the place I call home,” said Rajkumar, “Woodhaven is one of the last remaining authentic neighborhoods in this city. The resolution highlights the landmarks, styles, businesses, people and artistry that makes ours one of the best communities in New York. I am proud to say that every year from now on we will celebrate Woodhaven’s Birthday on July 1st. I look forward to Woodhaven’s next 187 years!”

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