VIDEO of the event is available here on YouTube and here in TV quality (h.264, mp4).
SOUND of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor’s Flickr page.
An emergency transcript of the governor’s comments is available below:
Good morning, fellow fighters. Are we ready to take on this battle across the country again? Yes we are. Yes we are. And our belief that there are rights so sacred they can’t be challenged, and that starts right here in a place like New York. Let me thank Georga for her leadership of this organization that I have addressed my entire adult life from my days in local government to county government to Congress, Lieutenant Governor and now as Governor. You’ve always been there. For all of you, I applaud it. Give yourselves a round of applause, the warriors, the warring men and women of Planned Parenthood.
Thank you, Georgia. Our speaker, Carl Heastie, is here. It helps to have allies, such as a president who champions women’s rights across the state. I also thank him for his leadership. Carl Heastie has joined us. Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, we’ve been in this fight for a long time, we’re fighting for the right thing. On behalf of all of you, I would also like to thank her for her leadership. Let’s give a round of applause to Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins. My partner, your lieutenant governor, Antonio Delgado, has also joined us. Thank him for being at the forefront of these battles.
So this should have been, should have been, 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Do you know what happened? It was a dark, dark day for many of us in June when suddenly what we came here and gathered for years happened, the possibility of someone touching these rights and unraveling them in our lifetime. But here in New York we stood up, we fought back. We’ve shown what we’re made of. We’ve shown the rest of the country how to respond immediately and say, “We’ll protect the women in our state who will continue to deserve these services.” But also the women who come here from other cities and other states where these rights have been taken away. We said, “Come to New York. This is our safe haven.” We got up. This is where you come if you want your rights to be protected.
So we immediately made money, $35 million, to provide support to all of our carriers. Protect your facilities, expand your facilities, hire more people to make sure we can meet the attack and the demand. My home area, Western New York, I don’t know if Michelle Casey is here with us today. Michelle Casey, there you are. She knows how many women come from places like Ohio and make their way to western New York in search of something that would never have required them to travel more than a few blocks. And I thank you and Michelle and all the leaders in the state for being there to take care of this for them.
We also said yes, we’re now going to make it possible for you to get an abortion in New York State without having to come up with a copay. Another statement of our priorities is the law here in New York State. Legislation to protect the rights of our providers and also to say, we are cooperating with the legislature. We’re going to enshrine these rights not only in law, but in the New York State Constitution with the ERA, and we’re going to do it again. We’re not going to finish until we get that across the finish line. We’re not going to stop. We’re not going to stop. That is our commitment to all of you.
That was last year. What are we doing this year? Our state has announced that we will protect all personal information of anyone seeking an abortion so that you will not be harassed. We will protect that information. We will allow pharmacists in New York State to directly prescribe abortion medications and birth control. And in our own higher education institutions, SUNY and CUNY, we will allow students to have a medication abortion at their health center. And something that I know is so important to many of our providers, we’ll be increasing the Medicaid reimbursement that you’ve asked for, for reproductive health services. We’re going to increase that.
So I tell you, this was my mom’s fight. This was my fight. It was my 34-year-old daughter Katie’s fight, although she had a lot of pictures from her protest at the Capitol, she always wears pink. She texts me pictures. My daughter’s fight. But I never dreamed in my life that my eight-month-old granddaughter Sophia wouldn’t have the same rights as her great-grandmother, who had her grandmother, who had her aunt, who had her mother. This cannot be sustained in the United States of America. We will continue to fight for our rights so that the next generation will know how much we care about their rights, equality and reproductive freedom.
Because this is the birthplace of all rights, and I know how important it is. The march for rights we should never have taken for granted continues. Why do I know about this? Because I’m the first governor in New York State to ever have a pregnancy, ever raise children, ever pass all the screenings on that test. I know more than any governor to me what it’s like to be a woman and wonder, “Does anyone else in Washington have the right to take what I should be able to decide for myself?” So, get ready for battle, my friends. Yes, we are protected here in New York State. We are going to enshrine it in our constitution.
We’re going to make sure our providers have what they need, but let’s give hope to our sisters across America that we’re behind them. You come here; we will help you. We will support you. This is your safe haven. Thank you very much. Let’s continue the fight. Thanks everyone.