2020 – A.2770-C / S.8525

2020 – A.2770-C / S.8525

Position Statement

A.2770-C (Bichotte) / S.8525 (Montgomery)


The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) – supports the above referenced measure relating to pre-term labor care. The Law would require hospitals to inform expectant mothers if they are going into pre-term labor and provide the necessary care to women with high risk pregnancies before discharge from the hospital. This law amends the Public Health Law by adding a new section 2509-b to be cited as the “Jonah Bichotte Cowan Law”. Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte lost her son Jonah Bichotte Cowan after going into preterm labor. The Hospital denied her treatment and discharged her citing a “hospital policy” claiming the hospital could not intervene before 23 weeks because insurance would not cover preterm labor care. Jonah was born alive and died several hours later at a neighboring hospital.

Specifically – this measure amends the current public health law to ensure that when an expectant mother goes to the hospital with concerns about pre-term labor the hospital must first determine whether the mother is in pre-term labor and if so, admit the expectant mother for close observation and continuous monitoring until medically safe for discharge. The hospital must also provide the expectant mother with information and potential health effects regarding pre-term labor and premature birth delivery.

WBASNY applauds the Jonah Bichotte Cowan Law providing the appropriate recognition of racial disparities in maternal healthcare. The most recent preterm birth rates among Black women is about 50% higher than the rate of pre-term birth among white women. In the United States, Black infants are more than twice as likely to die as white infants. This disparity is wider than in 1850 before the end of slavery. These disparities are the result of systemic racial injustices embedded in our healthcare system. It is with these recognitions that the bill properly strengthens our health care system and the one in ten families who are at risk of preterm birth. WBASNY believes that the Jonah Bichotte Cowan Law should be enacted.

WBASNY is the largest statewide bar association dedicated to promoting the advancement of women in the legal profession and in general. Because our mission commits us to improving the status of all women in society, WBASNY addresses complex legal issues as we advocate for change for women and children throughout the state and promote the fair and equal administration of justice.