On Wednesday, New York mayor Eric Adams announced free abortion pills will be provided at four public clinics across the city, making its health department the first in the nation to offer free medication abortion.
The city-provided abortion pills are used in more than 50% of all US abortions, but most are given in a hospital where patients and their insurance are billed. Unlike hospitals, these clinics primarily target lower-income and the uninsured. They are free to access.
The news comes after the conservative-majority US supreme court voted last year to overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark case the guaranteed the constitutional right to an abortion. Since the ruling, getting an abortion in America has become more difficult as many Republican-dominated states have limited or banned abortion.
Abortion pills can be taken up to 11 weeks of pregnancy and the earlier they are taken, the more effective they are.
In a speech on women’s health, Adams said: “For too long, health and healthcare has been centered around men. If men had periods, pap smears, and menopause, they would get a paid vacation, and if men could get pregnant, we wouldn’t see Congress trying to pass laws restricting abortion.”
On Wednesday, a Bronx clinic will be the first of the four free clinics to offer free abortion pills. The pills will be made available at three more clinics in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens and the rollout will take up to a year due to federally mandated training for the healthcare workers, according to health commissioner, Dr Ashwin Vasan.
In New York, abortion is legal but it is now effectively banned in at least 13 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.