Article by Diya Chadha

In the wake of attacks on reproductive health rights over the past year, a number of states have taken countering actions by passing pieces of statewide legislation that protect such rights. This has manifested in different ways. Earlier this year, parts of New York listed sexual and reproductive health rights as protected under the New York City Human Rights Law, with coverage ranging from being able to use birth control and contraception to having access to an abortion. New Jersey has been looking towards allocating nearly $9 million worth of state funds to organizations like Planned Parenthood to cover the gap in their funding caused by the defunding of Title X. These are just a few examples among many across the country. Just this past week, New York has again added to this set of protections by passing an antidiscrimination law protecting laborers from discrimination because of their reproductive health decision-making histories. There are three overarching sections: (1) employers cannot access health information of the employee unless given their explicit and written consent; (2) discriminate in any capacity against employees because of their known decision-making in regard to their sexual and reproductive health; (3) having employees sign a contract or waiver that effectively prohibits them from their right to make autonomous sexual and reproductive health decision-making. This action reflects a move that more states that recognize sexual and reproductive healthcare access to be a right will likely make in the future, especially given the persisting uncertainty surrounding the state of Roe v. Wade and other similar protections.

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