Position Statement – 2023
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) supports the passage of A.1386, which would amend the education law to require that colleges and universities provide information to students regarding the students’ right to reproductive health services in New York State.
WBASNY’s more than 4,000 members from twenty (20) chapters across New York State are dedicated to making life better for all women by promoting the advancement of the status of women in society, including women in the legal profession, and by working to ensure the fair and equitable administration of justice. Our members include individuals from all levels of state and federal judiciary, as well as prominent attorneys practicing in all areas of the law, educators and government leaders.
Following the United States Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, many states have begun passing legislation to significantly restrict access to abortion and other reproductive healthcare services, and we are likely to soon see state move to fully ban access altogether. WBASNY recognizes the importance of protecting reproductive rights in New York and has made it a WBASNY Legislative Priority for 2022-2023. In furtherance of that goal, WBASNY believes all college and university students should be made aware of the availability of services such as abortion, emergency contraception and counseling services in New York, particularly as many may be coming from states where access to reproductive health services is more restricted.
In New York, colleges and universities must already provide education to students on sexual violence prevention, including how to report sexual violence, the availability of on- and off-campus resources and more. However, colleges and universities are not currently required to give students any information on their right to and the availability of reproductive health services on or off campus. Similar to the education on sexual violence, this legislation would require colleges and universities to simply provide information to all new first-year and transfer students regarding access to reproductive healthcare services during their orientation to the school. Such information would also be posted in all residence halls and campus centers.
Since its inception, WBASNY has recognized the importance of providing accessible and accurate information on reproductive healthcare to all women and girls and supported access to affordable reproductive healthcare on a non-discriminatory basis. WBASNY also knows that not all women and girls have access to accurate information or reproductive healthcare services. A.1386 reflects New York State’s commitment to providing this crucial information and access to services to all students at its many state institutions of higher learning. Women of all ages benefit from having accurate information and access to services.