Ulster County Activists Advocate for Reproductive Rights

The Women’s Rights Ulster Activists (U-Act), will be hosting a reproductive rights trivia night to raise awareness for proposed contraceptive legislation. It aims to educate students and encourage their involvement in state politics.

“We just want young adults to pay attention to what’s going on and, most importantly, to vote,” said U-Act member and event coordinator Kathy Adorney.

The event will occur on Thursday, April 12, in the SUNY New Paltz Lecture center, room 102,  from 7 to 8 p.m. and is sponsored by the school’s Women’s Gender, and Sexuality Studies department. Attendees will learn about the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act (CCCA) and the state politicians behind its delay. The event will begin with a presentation about reproductive rights in New York and have an opportunity to win prizes.

“Some people don’t have health insurance, so they have to pay for contraception out of pocket,” said U-Act member Ellen Rocco, another host of the event. “This isn’t about imposing views, it’s about making medical services available to people so that they can choose.” 

According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, about 50 percent of pregnancies that occur in America are unintentional.  While 99 percent of women use some form of contraceptive, the lack of comprehensive health insurance and high copayments.

The CCCA would require health insurance policies to cover FDA approved contraceptive drug, devices and products, voluntary sterilization procedures as well as education, counseling and other related follow up services. Additionally it would prevent health insurance companies from imposing cost-sharing requirements, such as copayments and other restrictions. 

The act is sponsored by Senator John Bonacic, R-42, and currently lies in the Insurance Committee of the New York Senate, where it has remained for over a year. 

“When we lobbied Senator Bonacic in Albany last year, and with Planned Parenthood this year, he revealed that it is social conservatives that are holding up the bill,” Adorney said. “He is our Republican senator and he sponsored the CCCA; not all Republicans are social conservatives.”

U-Act blame state representatives including U.S. Representative John Faso, District 19, Senator James Seward, District 51, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, R-2,  and the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) for stopping the CCCA from being approved. The IDC is a group of turncoat democrats who, although are registered democrats, are in majority coalition with the Republicans in chamber. 

“There are three men in a room who hash out the budget for New York State,” Adorney said. “This year there was a fourth: Jeff Klein, the leader of the IDC. It seems like he traded loyalty for leadership. 

Second-year communications major Jillian Schiavone from Long Island addressed the lack of funding allocated towards contraceptives, especially the lack of support for women.

“Condoms are handed out at schools freely, but they don’t provide birth control or pads for girls,” Schiavone said. “For girls, there are more aspects to their sex life than the act of sex. Sex is a choice, menstruation is not.” 

U-Act hopes the event will attract students of every gender since the legislation covers multiple forms of contraception.

We want students on campus and people in the community to understand they have a role in securing their rights,” Adorney said.

Max Freebern
About Max Freebern 91 Articles
Max Freebern is a fourth-year journalism major who’s going into his fifth semester working for Oracle. He worked his way from a contributor, to copy editor and has served as the News editor for the past few semester. While he normally focuses on local government his true passion is writing immersive work and human profiles.