Mayor Eric Adams outlines vision, agenda for women's health in New York City

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Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Adams outlines vision for making NYC future of women's health
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NYC Mayor Eric Adams outlined his vision for an NYC Women's Health Agenda on Tuesday to close the gaps caused by long-standing structural inequities. Darla Miles has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- NYC Mayor Eric Adams outlined his vision for a New York City Women's Health Agenda, which he says is aimed at dismantling decades of systemic inequity that have negatively impacted women across the city.

Adams was joined by health care leaders Tuesday as he shared plans and ideas to help close the gaps caused by lack of access to care, lack of inclusion and lack of innovation.

"For too long health and health care has been centered around men, but that changes today," said Mayor Adams. "We have been standing on the sidelines of women's health for too long, and I have personally seen firsthand how the health system is letting our women down. It is long overdue that we break taboos and make New York City a model for the future of women's health care. We are going to build a city that is here for all women and girls."

Many women, in NYC and across the globe, suffer from preventable health conditions and face distinct challenges.

For example, in New York City, the average maternal mortality rate among Black pregnant people is more than nine times the rate of white pregnant people.

To help fight these inequities, part of Adams' commitments include:

  • Relaunching the Sexual Education Task Force
  • Immediately committing to tracking rates of different diseases
  • Convening a variety of thought leaders to create a robust and comprehensive women's health agenda
  • Building on previous successes for the city's workforce
  • Expanding access to abortion medication at NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene clinics
  • Launching a provider education campaign on maternal health
  • Launching a family-based substance use disorder program at H+H
  • Committing to exploring the expansions of an access to pelvic floor physical therapy
  • The city-run Morrisania Sexual Health Clinic in the Bronx will begin to provide abortion pills to individuals starting Wednesday.

    Several additional neighborhood clinics in Crown Heights (Brooklyn), Central Harlem (Manhattan), and Jamaica (Queens) will begin dispensing the medication by the end of the year.

    New York State Catholic Conference Executive Director Dennis Poust said in a statement:

    "No woman in a crisis pregnancy should ever be made to feel that abortion is her only choice. Yet rather than offering assistance to women who would prefer to keep their babies, our elected leaders' response is to push abortion pills on them. This policy is an abandonment of women who may need nothing more than a helping hand from the government in order to choose life for their child."

    State Conservative Party chairman Gerald Kassar added, "This is abortion tourism. New York has gone way too extreme on abortion."

    Heart disease continues to be a leading cause of death for women, while breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer for women (after skin cancer) and the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women (after lung cancer).

    An analysis by DOHMH shows that among women, rates of hypertension are highest among Black women in New York City (41.6%) and nationwide (39.9%), compared to Latina women (26% and 28%, respectively), white women (20.6% and 25.6%, respectively ) and Asian women (13% and 21.9%, respectively).

    Experts say the inequities stem from a range of causes, including medical training and quality of available services, as well as clinical research historically conducted with men and then having those findings incorrectly applied to women.

    "This week is a bitter anniversary as we mark what should have been 50 years of protection of reproductive rights through Roe v. Wade," said DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. "Rather than focus on what's lost, we will put our energy toward making gains for women's health and mobilizing every sector of our city to this cause. As a husband, father of a daughter, ally, and doctor, my hope is that our city will be a beacon for women's health now and for generations to come. We don't have another year to wait."

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