New York will offer abortion medication free-of-charge at four city-run health clinics, Mayor Eric Adams (D) announced Tuesday as he laid out an agenda to repair health care inequities for women in the city.
“For too long, health and health care has been centered around men. If men had periods, pap smears and menopause, they would get a paid vacation. And if men could get pregnant, we wouldn’t see Congress trying to pass laws restricting abortion,” Adams said in a sweeping address on women’s health.
“We have been standing on the sidelines of women’s health for too long, and I have personally seen firsthand how the health system is letting our women down,” he added.
Abortion pills will be available starting Wednesday at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene clinic in the Bronx, and an additional three clinics in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens are also set to start dispensing the medication by the end of the year, according to the governor’s office.
The four sites together could disperse up to 10,000 abortion pills per year, in addition to the pills dispensed by the city’s hospital system, where the medication is already available.
The move to offer the pills for free at the city-funded clinics is intended to help patients get around insurance and economic hurdles that they might run up against in the hospitals.
“No other city in the nation or in the world has a public health department that is providing medication abortion. We are the first,” Adams said.
The move is part of his “New York City Women’s Health Agenda,” which he announced Tuesday at City Hall alongside city health officials.
“It is long overdue that we break taboos and make New York City a model for the future of women’s health care. We are going to build a city that is here for all women and girls,” Adams said.
The mayor’s wide-ranging plan includes efforts to make the city and workplaces “more women’s health care friendly,” from lactation rooms for nursing mothers to paid leave for cancer screenings.
The agenda also homes in on addressing racial disparities in women’s health care, like the maternal mortality rate among pregnant Black women that’s over nine times the rate seen among pregnant white women, the city reports.