Majority Leader A. Cumbo and Councilmembers Carlina Rivera, Margaret Chin and Jumaane Williams. Photo credit: Kevin Fagan for Councilmember Jumaane Williams

Did you know that in the year 2018 New York City employers could still terminate a woman because she had an abortion or a child out of wedlock? Thanks to a bill introduced by Flatbush Councilmember Jumaane Williams and co-sponsored by 28 of his colleagues including Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, this will soon be a thing of the past. 

On Thursday, New York City Council passed the “NYC Boss Bill” which prohibits employment discrimination based on an individual’s reproductive health choices. Williams introduced the legislation in response to the federal government’s efforts to curtail reproductive healthcare access.

“In an environment where the GOP in Congress, the White House and the courts threaten the civil rights that we fought for over decades, New York City needs to stand in defense of reproductive rights,” said Williams. “But rights that can be undercut by reproductive retribution and discrimination are not rights at all, and it’s time we took a stand against reproductive injustice.”

The bill covers all sexual and reproductive health decisions including fertility-related medical procedures, sexually transmitted disease prevention, testing and treatment, as well as family planning services and counseling such as birth control drugs and supplies, emergency contraception, sterilization procedures, pregnancy testing and abortion.

“Women still face challenges in exercising their constitutionally protected rights to make reproductive health decisions,” said Cumbo. “I’m committed to ensuring that a women’s reproductive healthcare choices remain a fundamental right and to implementing penalties against those who violate those very rights.”

Christina Chang of Planned Parenthood NYC called the passage of the Boss Bill “a huge victory for sexual and reproductive rights in NYC.”

“All people should be able to make their own sexual and reproductive health care decisions without fear of retaliation or punishment from their employers or anyone else,” said Chang. “With the Trump Administration attacking sexual and reproductive health care, it has never been more critical for New York City to stand up and be a leader. New York City must ensure that accessing  birth control and other health care services does not become grounds for discrimination.”

The bill is expected to be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio and will then take effect within 120 days

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