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New York: Did You Know?

Did you know New York City is the first city in the U.S. to fund emergency contraception (EC) outreach?

In April 2005, after receiving NARAL Pro-Choice New York's "Champion of Choice" award for his commitment to women's reproductive health, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a $3 million Healthy Women/Healthy Babies Initiative to reduce unintended pregnancies and improve reproductive health in New York City.  Mayor Bloomberg explained, "Protecting the health of women goes beyond a commitment to choice and the right of women to control their own bodies.  It means tackling the complex issues of reproductive health, so that all women, rich or poor, can have access to the latest advances in birth control and can make healthy and informed decisions." 

The initiative includes several programs aimed at increasing access to and awareness of emergency contraception.  The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) planned to spend one million dollars on  an EC education and outreach campaign to educate the public as well as health care providers about the benefits of EC.  DOHMH also planned to visit pharmacists in targeted neighborhoods to educate them about EC and to encourage pharmacies to stock the emergency contraceptive Plan B®.  In addition, DOHMH will promote EC and family planning as means of reducing unintended pregnancies through public education, including materials for non-English speaking communities on birth control options.  Finally, the DOHMH will expand its Nurse Family Partnership, a nurse home visiting program that provides care to low-income women with pre- and post-natal care.

Robert Jaffe, Deputy Director of NARAL Pro-Choice New York praised the Mayor saying, "he has stepped into the fray, sided with science and women's health and is pushing a program that will directly reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in our city." 

Press Release, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Announces Health Women/Healthy Babies Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies, (Apr. 21, 2005); Michael Slackman, Abortion Rights Group Lauds Mayor on Morning-After Pill, N.Y. Times, Apr. 22, 2005, at B3.

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