NYCLU Criticizes Governor's Appointment of Anti-Choice Health Commissioner

June 2, 1999 12:00 am

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Wednesday, June 2, 1999

NEW YORK–Governor Pataki’s appointment of Antonia Novello as New York’s Health Commissioner is irresponsible and an affront to those concerned with the reproductive health and well-being of women.

The Pataki Administration claims to be pro-choice, but the appointment of an anti-choice Health Commissioner sends the opposite message. The former Surgeon General, who gave us the infamous “gag rule” that prohibited abortion counseling and referrals in federally funded programs, is now in charge of protecting and preserving women’s reproductive rights in New York. The message is unmistakable: reproductive rights are not safe under the Pataki Administration.

The Health Commissioner is responsible for:

  • ensuring that abortion and other reproductive health services remain safe, legal and accessible;
  • ensuring that women on Medicaid have free and direct access to full reproductive health services in the context of Medicaid managed care;
  • overseeing medical licensure, education, and professional practice to ensure that there is an adequate pool of competent reproductive health care providers, include abortion providers.

The NYCLU will closely monitor the Department of Health to ensure that Commissioner Novello meets her legal obligation to respect and protect the reproductive rights of all women in New York.

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