Public Health Solutions Brownsville clinic. Photo: Google Maps.

Brooklyn Senator Julia Salazar and NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to restore $4.6 million in funding to six reproductive health care providers in New York City, including at least two in Brooklyn.

If the funding is not restored in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, at least some of the clinics – which serve some of the city’s most vulnerable populations – will face imminent closure, as the BK Reader reported Thursday.

The clinics facing closure include Public Health Solutions Brownsville and Clinton Hill reproductive health care clinics.

The clinics offer birth control counseling, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, midwife-led prenatal care and referrals for adoption and abortion at low- or no-cost. And, unlike most hospital clinics, the clinics pair pregnant women with midwives and doulas.

Without the funding, 3,500 Brooklyn patients would have to find new clinics to receive care, and could struggle to find places that provided the same low-cost, personalized service.

In a letter to Cuomo, Salazar and Stringer urge the state to consider the ongoing repercussions of the “draconian” Trump Administration’s dismantling of Title X, where the administration made healthcare providers who offer abortions or referrals for abortions ineligible for funding.

The change destabilized many of New York City’s reproductive health care providers and still threatens their capacity to provide care for New Yorkers most in need, the pair say.

They say that as New York continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to invest in comprehensive reproductive health care services has never been more urgent, “especially as reproductive health clinics are often the only trusted source of health care for lower-income communities.”

In the letter, they say the six organizations that would be affected are The Door, William F. Ryan Community Health Center, Community Healthcare Network, Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York and Public Health Solutions.

 “[The providers] all provided critical health care services every day to thousands of our most vulnerable New Yorkers, including people of color, lower-income, underinsured, and immigrant New Yorkers,” the letter says.

They say the providers should not have to wait in limbo, to then compete for state dollars that were supposed to insulate them from damage caused by the former-administration.

“During the deepest economic recession of our lifetimes, and on the heels of four years of sustained attacks on comprehensive reproductive health care access from the federal government, we should be doing everything we can to invest in and expand health care providers’ capacity – not threaten the sustainability of existing services.”

Public Health Solutions CEO Lisa David told NBC without replacement funding it would start closing the clinics Friday. “This is solvable, and I think they have the resources to solve it. But everyone is extremely distracted in Albany.”

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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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