On January 17, Mayor Adams’ addressed his vision for a ‘New York City Women’s Health Agenda’. In his address, Mayor Adams outlines plans to essentially undo decades of systemic inequity that have negatively affected women’s health.

Mayor Adams acknowledged the neglect of women’s health across the five boroughs of the city. He later outlined steps to combat and correct these issues that plague women in the city.

“For too long health and health care has been centered around men, but that changes today,” explained Mayor Adams. “We have been standing on the sidelines of women’s health for too long, and I have personally seen firsthand how the health system is letting our women down. It is long overdue that we break taboos and make New York City a model for the future of women’s health care. We are going to build a city that is here for all women and girls.”

Mayor Adams Lays Out Commitments

Mayor Adams reiterated some of the immediate commitments. They include relaunching the Sexual Education Task Force and tracking rates of different diseases. In addition to assembling a robust cohort of thought leaders for a comprehensive Women’s Health Agenda.

Mayor Adams also stressed the importance of expanding access to abortion medication. Specifically, at NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) clinics. Following the announcement, the city-run Morrisania Sexual Health Clinic in the Bronx have already begun providing abortion pills to individuals. Morrisania Sexual Health Clinic won’t be the only clinic offering the pills. Clinics in Crown Heights (Brooklyn), Central Harlem (Manhattan), and Jamaica (Queens) will offer this service later in the year.

In a recent statement, New York State Catholic Conference Executive Director Dennis Poust said: “No woman in a crisis pregnancy should ever be made to feel that abortion is her only choice. Yet, rather than offering assistance to women who would prefer to keep their babies, our elected leaders’ response is to push abortion pills on them. This policy is an abandonment of women who may need nothing more than a helping hand from the government in order to choose life for their child.”

Among these immediate commitments were other initiatives. These included an educational campaign on maternal health and a newly launched family-based substance use disorder program. In addition to a commitment to exploring the expansions of access to pelvic floor physical therapy.

Black women disproportionately neglected health-wise in NYC

Black Women's Bodies Issa Rae Pregnancy Tweet
Photo Credit: Ella Jardim/Unsplash

“If men had periods, pap-smears and menopause they’d be getting paid vacation. If men could get pregnant we wouldn’t see congress trying to pass laws, restricting abortion.” This was the statement that Mayor Adams used to paint a clearer picture of the womens health crisis. Within this crisis, Black women have even more hurdles.

According to an analysis by DOHMH reported by abc7, rates of hypertension are highest among Black women in New York City (41.6%) and nationwide (39.9%) compared to Latina women (26% and 28%, respectively), white women (20.6% and 25.6%, respectively ) and Asian women (13% and 21.9%, respectively).

Shockingly, the average maternal mortality rate among Black pregnant people is more than nine times the rate of white pregnant people. There are a range of causes for these inequities against Black women. It’s also the case that many of these deaths are preventable. Specialists suggest that potential reasons include biased clinical research and poor medical training.

Praise for the Mayor’s initiatives

Others expressed praise for the steps Mayor Adams has taken, including DOE Chancellor David C. Banks: “The majority of our workforce is made up of dedicated women and so many of our students thrive due to the women in their lives. I know that with the focus of the mayor on this issue, we will strengthen our school communities and the future of children in New York City he said in a statement.

Many of the new initiatives launched and pending are expansions on the campaigns that Adams already created. Some of these projects include the first Abortion Access Hub which refers callers to abortion care providers in NYC. Another project includes a citywide expansion of doula services and midwifery services.

With focused and diligent work with the communities that protect women’s health, the NYC community hope to see major change. Many eagerly await the reimagined version of NYC as a safe space for women – including Black women. Listen to the full video listing Mayor Adams’ intentions for an NYC Women’s Health Agenda which thoroughly caters to women below.

Related: Black Woman Says Before Her Stillbirth, Doctors Ignored Her Pregnancy Concerns