New York, NY — On December 20, 2018, the New York City Council passed landmark legislation, endorsed by the Progressive Caucus, which adds sexual and reproductive decisions under the protections of the Human Rights law, thus protecting the rights of New Yorkers, particularly women, to make their own reproductive and sexual health choices without fear of discrimination in the workplace, or discriminatory harassment or violence. The legislation was introduced by Progressive Caucus Member Jumaane Williams, and was co-sponsored by 18 other Progressive Caucus members. All 22 members of the Progressive Caucus voted in favor of the bill.
The bill defines sexual and reproductive health decisions as any decision by an individual to receive services which are arranged for or offered or provided to individuals relating to the reproductive system and its functions, including, but not limited to, fertility-related medical procedures, family planning services and counseling, including but not limited to, access to all medically approved birth control drugs and supplies, emergency contraception, sterilization procedures, pregnancy testing, sexual transmitted disease testing and treatment, abortion procedures and HIV testing and counseling. All such decisions would now be protected under New York City human rights.
“In an environment where the GOP in Congress, the White House, and the Court threaten the civil rights that we fought for over decades, New York City needs to stand in defense of reproductive rights.” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Member of the Progressive Caucus. “But rights that can be undercut by reproductive retribution and discrimination are not rights at all- and it’s time we took a stand against reproductive injustice. I thank Majority Leader Cumbo, Council Members Rosenthal, Rivera, Rosen and Chin, the Women’s Caucus, and of my colleagues for their support of this bill, and the Speaker for recognizing the importance of enshrining these protections into law.”
“Reproductive-related harassment, discrimination, and violence have no business in the workplace, and I want to thank Council Member Williams and all of my colleagues in the Women’s and Progressive Caucuses for fighting for years to pass this critical bill. New York must continue to work to be a leader when it comes to ending harassment no matter where it occurs,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus and Member of the Progressive Caucus.
“New Yorkers should never have to fear repercussions or interference because they are seeking reproductive health care. Such actions are a form of discrimination and harassment, and a violation of basic human rights. Thank you to Council Member Williams for fighting to ensure that every New Yorker’s right to care for their reproductive health is explicit and unassailable,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Chair of the Committee on Women and Member of the Progressive Caucus.
“The Boss bill is New York City’s way of making it known that women are respected here, that their decisions matter and are appreciated,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus.”Sexual and reproductive choices will now have protections under of the Human Rights law in our City and New Yorkers particularly women will not have to fear of discrimination in the workplace based on these factors. I commend my colleague Jumaane Williams, and the rest of the Progressive Caucus and the Women’s Caucus for doing the work to get this bill passed.”
“Through the passage of the Boss Bill, we’re sending a clear, unequivocal message to the rest of the country that a women’s agency over her body and health decisions is an uninhibited right – especially in the workplace,” said Council Member Chin, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “Women should not have to fear discrimination at their place of work for taking care of their reproductive health. I am proud to join Council Member Williams, my sisters in the NYC Council Women’s Caucus, and my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus and the Council as we take a bold leap towards improving reproductive access for all.”
“My first piece of legislation signed into law addressed harassment in the workplace – this is an incredibly important area for policy change. The Boss Bill further strengthens protections, ensuring that women can make health and life decisions for themselves without fear of retaliation or discrimination,” said Council Member Keith Powers, Vice Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “I commend Council Member Williams and my colleagues on the Women’s Caucus and Progressive Caucus for pushing this through.”
“No woman should face discrimination, harassment, or violence in the workplace due to decisions she makes about her body, and it’s about time New York City’s human rights law reflects that,” said Council Member Brad Lander, Member of the Progressive Caucus. “I am proud to support this landmark legislation to add sexual and reproductive decisions as a protected status under New York City’s human rights law. Thanks to my colleague Jumaane Williams for sponsoring this important legislation, and to the Progressive Caucus for its strong support.”
“Interfering with someone’s sexual and reproductive decisions is not simply a form of harassment or discrimination, it’s a violation of one’s basic humanity. That’s why this Boss bill must pass,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Vice-Chair of the Progressive Caucus. “Whatever happens in Washington, the right of all women to take care of their sexual and reproductive health is now enshrined within the City’s Human Rights Law. I commend Council Members Williams, Cumbo, Rosenthal, Rivera, Chin, the Women’s Caucus, and our Speaker for their leadership on this very important issue.”