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Day of Action in Albany

January 13, 2010

post by Jenny Ye, freshman from NYC

Yesterday, my friends and I joined Planned Parenthood of New York City and Family Planning Advocates of New York State at a day of action in Albany. As Congress works in conference on national healthcare reform, New York groups highlighted crucial statewide legislation that protects and funds reproductive healthcare at the first day of New York’s 2010 legislative session.

Ready to lobby!

To my surprise, the drive from Manhattan to Albany is only three hours! I always imagined Albany being extremely far away, something like six hours away. My friends and I met up at 6:30am to walk to PPNYC offices to get on the bus.

Some key facts I learned while prepping on the bus:

For every $1 spent on family planning services in New York, $4 in Medicaid costs are saved – in the same budget year.

For every Medicaid dollar New York spends on family planning, the federal government reimburses the state 90 cents.

More than 6 in 10 patients receiving care at a women’s health center consider it their primary source of health care.

When we arrived, leaders of Family Planning Advocates, as well as a list of New York State leaders welcomed us. Our  (very funny) Governor Paterson emphasized that, “one place we definitely need to keep politics out of is a woman’s right to choose.”

Governor Paterson

Group photo! (from FPA)

After the speakers, we headed for lunch in the Capitol Deli, and then to a Q&A with author Michelle Goldberg, who discussed the reproductive justice movement on the global scale.

Although we were supposed to meet with a staff member of our assemblymen, Speaker Silver, we couldn’t enter the building (we don’t have drivers licenses!). Instead, we joined the group meeting with our State Senator Daniel Squadron. In the meeting, we spoke to his staff member about the importance of the Reproductive Health Act and comprehensive sex-ed. It was great to hear the stories of all the New Yorkers in the room, who ranged from teachers, to lawyers, to mothers, to students!

in the conference room!

We moved from a conference room to the Senate Chamber to meet Senator Squadron and reiterate our lobbying points. Surprisingly, Senator Squadron and I bonded over dumplings. It was great to hear his support for reproductive healthcare, and such a cool experience to be in the Senate Chamber.

bye albany!

Yesterday reminded me how pressing these issues are. Supporting women’s health is not only important for our collective wellbeing, but it also makes budgetary sense. I saw many New York legislators stand up for comprehensive reproductive healthcare, and I hope that legislators in Washington are doing the same in conference.

To put pressure on legislators in Congress, please sign this petition:

http://action.aclu.org/StopStupak

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