NEW YORK, NY — Free abortion pills will be offered at New York City’s public health clinics as part of a sweeping new women’s health effort, Mayor Eric Adams said.
Adams unveiled his “New York City Women’s Health Agenda” during an address Tuesday in which he promised to tackle long-standing inequities in health care, including in abortion access.
In the wake of Roe v. Wade’s reversal, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Clinics will provide medication abortion that the city previously only offered at public hospitals, Adams said.
The pills will first be offered starting Wednesday at the Morrisania Sexual Health Clinic in The Bronx, followed by other city-run health clinics in Crown Heights, Central Harlem and Jamaica by the year’s end, officials said.
“No other city in the nation or in the world has its public health department providing medication abortions,” Adams said. “We are the first.”
The city has provided free abortion medication at public hospitals since last year, but health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan noted that there still could be economic “barriers” for some.
Vasan said the health clinics are free without billing.
“When they’re all up and running, these four sites can deliver up to 10,000 medication abortions a year, and that’s on top of what our public hospital system already does,” he said.
Adams’ address on women’s health could in some ways be compared to a one-man “vagina monologue.”
Health care has revolved around men for too long, which leaves important aspects of women’s health such as abortion access woefully inadequate or at risk, he said.
Women wait up to 10 years for proper disease diagnoses and face a “pink tax” on women’s products that costs them roughly $1,300 a year, he said.
Part of that is unwarranted societal discomfort with and prejudice against female bodies, he said.
“We would have a lot more research and care options for women’s health if we weren’t so afraid of saying the word ‘vagina,'” Adams said during an event in which he was flanked by women health professionals.
“We can talk about erectile dysfunction but not clitoral stimulation,” he said.
The new women’s health agenda also includes plans to provide support to pregnant people with addiction issues, expand access to pelvic floor therapy, create more “menopause-friendly” workplaces in City office and to relaunch a sex education taskforce.