Assemblyman Fred Thiele Helps Pass Legislation that Continues Record of Protecting Reproductive, Maternal Health Care in New York

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (D-Sag Harbor) announced that he is planning to pass several bills to protect and expand New Yorkers’ reproductive and maternal health care rights. This legislative package builds on the Assembly Majority’s continued efforts to safeguard women’s rights and improve our state’s health care system.

“With sustained efforts to turn back the clock on our rights both nationwide and here at home, it’s more important than ever to support women’s health. Here in New York, we are making efforts to strengthen every possible aspect of reproductive and maternal health care,” said Assemblyman Thiele. “From ensuring moms have access to vital, lifesaving care and support during pregnancy and birth, to reducing the costs of maternal health care, this legislative package continues our commitment to be a leader for the nation and provide the care New Yorkers deserve.”

The measures passed by the Assembly would protect the mother and baby’s health and well-being during pregnancy and birth as well as in the time following birth. Maternal mental health conditions affect 20% of all people during pregnancy or postpartum, and many of these cases go unreported.[1] The rate is even higher among Black birthing persons, reaching an alarming 40%.[2] Legislation passed in this package would require the Commissioner of Health to create uniform standards as to when and how screenings for maternal depressions should take place in order to ensure that their mental health is given sufficient attention at all stages of pregnancy and into parenthood (A.2870-B).

The rising costs of health care can also be a struggle for families on tight budgets. Two new bills will help lower costs by ensuring that prescribed prenatal vitamins are covered by insurance and pregnant individuals can enroll in the state health insurance exchange at any time without getting hit with fees (A.3865-A, A.2656).

Other legislation passed as part of the package included measures that would:

  • require health care providers to inform patients planning a cesarean section about the risks associated with such procedure (A.4927-A);
  • provide access to a doula, a trained pregnancy guidance expert, in health care facilities for care and support during pregnancy and birth (A.6168-A);
  • provide access to a doula in the operating room if a cesarean section is necessary (A.7606);
  • require the state Department of Health to convene a maternal health care and birthing standards workgroup to develop recommendations for culturally competent maternal health care (A.8207-A); and
  • ensure that inquiring patients have access to information about which health care facilities in their area provide the care they need (A.733-A).

Assemblyman Thiele stated, “As we continue the 2024 Legislative Session, I will keep working with my colleagues to safeguard reproductive and maternal health care, providing all New York families opportunities to thrive”.