“This is a culture war” – New York city is taking medical tourism to a new level
| By Nikita Stewart, June 14, 2019
| The New York Times – New York City will spend $250,000 to help poor women who travel from other states to obtain abortions here, inserting itself into the increasingly contentious debate over access to the procedure.
While the amount of money is relatively small, the allocation is a symbolic if provocative move as more conservative states take steps to all but ban abortion.
The money will go to the New York Abortion Access Fund, according to City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, a Democrat from Manhattan, and Jennifer Fermino, a spokeswoman for the Council speaker, Corey Johnson.
Abortion rights activists believe that this is the first time that a city will allocate money specifically for abortions.
City officials said the contribution, which would be included in the budget being negotiated between the Council and the mayor’s office, would allow about 500 women to terminate their pregnancies.
The city provides funding to the nonprofit Planned Parenthood, but that organization’s affiliates charge patients on a sliding scale and offer a range of services. The city’s public hospital system also performs abortions, but women face a bureaucracy of requests for proof of income, private insurance and Medicaid.
The abortion access fund provides payment to clinics on behalf of women who might not be able to pay for abortions but are not covered by insurance or Medicaid. Roughly a third of the fund goes to women who come to New York for abortions.
“There haven’t been that many city and state public officials to say we should publicly fund abortions. It’s a big statement,” said Aziza Ahmed, a law professor at Northeastern University in Boston. “This is a culture war to some degree.” Read more.