Location: SMART's Office (at Bailey House in East Harlem)
1751 Park Avenue
(Between 121st and 122nd Streets)
Transportation: 4/5/6 train to 125th Street and Lexington Avenue
Food and Metrocards will be provided.
Review of Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy
Birth Control Policy:
· Birth control is defined as any method that is used to protect a woman from getting pregnant.
· In the 1800s birth control was illegal in the United States.
· The Comstock Law was passed by Congress, making distribution of birth control devices and sending information about birth control through the mail illegal.
· Margaret Sanger was a strong advocate of birth control.
-She opened the country’s first birth control clinic in New York City in 1916.
-She established the National Committee for Federal Legislation of Birth Control.
-She proposed a bill to reverse the prohibition of birth control.
-She founded the American Birth Control League which today is known as Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
· Planned Parenthood funded Dr. Gregory Pincus in support of his research to develop a birth control pill.
· In 1965 the Supreme Court got involved with the birth control controversy.
· In 1966, the federal government began public funding of contraceptive services for low-income families.
· Plan B is not an abortion pill; it is a form of contraception.
· Plan B works by stopping ovulation so that a pregnancy cannot occur.
· If a woman has unprotected sex and a fertilized egg does form, Plan B may prevent the egg from implanting in the uterus and therefore prevent a pregnancy.
· United States law says that you cannot purchase Plan B if you are under the age of 17, unless you have a prescription.
Roe v. Wade (Abortion Policy):
· Jane Roe (actually Norma McCorvey) was an unmarried pregnant woman from Texas who tried to get an abortion, but was denied under Texas law.
· Roe argued that the law was unconstitutional and violated her right to privacy.
· The Court agreed with Roe, but also held that states have a right to protect potential human life.
· Because of the conflicting rights, the Court divided the pregnancy into three 12-week trimesters.
· In the first trimester, a state cannot regulate abortion besides requiring that the procedure me done by a licensed doctor in medically safe conditions.
· In the second trimester, a state may regulate abortion if the regulations are reasonably related to the pregnant woman’s health.
· In the third trimester, s state may prohibit abortion unless it is necessary to save the life or health of the mother.
· Abstinence-only programs are programs that do not teach about safe sex, contraceptives, etc.; these programs only teach abstinence (abstinence-only-until-marriage).
· Over $1 billion in government funding has been spent to teach these abstinence-only programs in public schools.
· Government research has shown that abstinence-only programs have not changed the statistics of initiation of sex (at what age young people begin having sex).
· Sexual health education policy has changed since President Obama has been in office.
· There is a push for more comprehensive sexual health education in schools.
Review of New York City Policy Making
New York City Mayor:Michael R. Bloomberg; for more information:
New York City Council:
· The New York City Council is the law-making body of New York City.
· The City Council has 51 members, each one representing one of the council districts.
· Main responsibilities of the City Council:
1. To monitor the operation and performance of city agencies
· The Council holds regular oversight hearings.
2. To make land use decisions
· This includes the power to approve zoning changes, housing and urban renewal plans, community development plans, and disposition of city-owned property.
3. To approve the city’s budget
· The mayor proposes the budget for the coming year, but the Council has the final approval power.
· The Council makes and passes laws that govern the City of New York.
· See the “Legislative Process” below for more information.
· Most of the legislative work is done in committee.
· Each Council Member serves on at least three standing committees, sub- and select committees and panels.
The Speaker of the Council:
Christine C. Quinn; for more information:
· The Council Speaker is elected by the Council Members.
· The Speaker’s primary role is to obtain a consensus on major issues.
NYC Council Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus
· The BLA Caucus meets to make sure that issues of concern to the City’s Black, Latino, and Asian communities are being addressed.
NYC Council Women’s Caucus
· The goal of the Women’s Caucus is to advance women’s rights and promote equality in New York City.
Legislative Process: Making a Bill into a Local Law
· A bill is filed by a Council Member with the Council Speaker’s Office.
· The bill is introduced to the Council during a Stated Meeting and then referred to the appropriate committee(s).
· In committee the bill may be debated and amended.
· The committee votes on the final version of the bill.
· If passed in committee, the bill is sent to the Council for more debate and a final vote.
· If the bill receives a majority of the vote in Council (at least 26 members), it is sent to the Mayor.
· The Mayor has 30 days to either sign or veto the bill.
· If the Mayor signs the bill, it immediately becomes a local law.
· If the Mayor vetoes the bill, it sent back to the City Council.
-The City Council has 30 days to override the Mayor’s veto.
-Overriding the veto (to make the bill into a law) requires two-thirds of the Council vote (at least 34 members).
· If the Mayor neither signs nor vetoes the bill within 30 days of receiving it from the Council, the bill automatically becomes a local law.
*Legislation pending in the Council is referred to as an “Introduction”.
Review of New York State Policy Making
New York Governor: Andrew M. Cuomo
New York Attorney General: Eric T. Schneiderman
New York State Senate:
· There are 62 New York State Senators.
· For more information on the New York State Senate or to find the State Senator that represents your district visit: http://www.nysenate.gov/
New York State Assembly:
· There are 150 New York State Assembly Members.
· For more information on the New York Assembly or to find the New York State Assembly Member that represents your district visit: http://assembly.state.ny.us/
The Process of Making a Bill into a New York State Law:
· Anyone can come up with an idea for a bill.
· A bill must be sponsored by a Legislator, the Governor, or the Attorney General.
· The sponsor will submit the bill to the Legislative Bill Drafting Commission (LBDC) to draft the bill, making sure that it is written in the correct language and formatted to reflect the intended content.
· At the Index Office the bill is assigned a number and printed.
· Once the bill has been introduced, it is referred to the appropriate committees for review, discussion, and revision.
· Changes to the bill are called amendments.
-Each time the bill is amended it is sent back to the Legislative Bill Drafting Commission to be proofread.
· Once a bill has made it through all the appropriate committees it is reported to the floor of the House.
-If one of the committees does not report the bill to the floor, the bill “dies” in committee.
· Bills that require funds from the state go to either the Assembly Ways & Means Committee or the Senate Finance Committee.
· The bill is put before the House to which it was assigned to be debated and voted on. If it passes, the bill is then sent to the other House to be voted on.
· If the bill passes in both Houses, it is sent to the Governor.
-If the bill is signed by the Governor, it becomes a law.
· If the Governor vetoes the bill, the bill is reintroduced to both Houses.
-After a veto, if the bill receives two-thirds of the vote in both Houses, then the bill will become a law.
For more on how a bill becomes a NY State law: http://www.bcnys.org/inside/sb/billlaw.htm