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National Institute for Reproductive Health - Howie Hawkins
Howie's answers on issues including Abortion Rights and Access, Access to Contraception, and Social Justice impacts on reproductive rights.
The Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that the United States Constitution protects an individual's right to decide to have an abortion before fetal viability (and later if her life or health is endangered). Do you support this legal precedent and the subsequent decision in the 2016 case Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt?
Do you oppose abortion bans, including those that ban abortion based on fetal age, ban a particular medical or surgical abortion method, or ban particular reasons for abortion, including sex, race, or fetal health?
Do you support legislation that would decriminalize abortion in New York and update the state abortion law to guarantee that everyone has a right to safe and legal abortion care?
Do you oppose legislation and policies that undermine an individual's right to decide to have an abortion by granting legal personhood status to an embryo or fetus?
Do you oppose policies that punish women who induce their own abortions?
Would you oppose the confirmation of a nominee to the United States Supreme Court who refuses to uphold the legal protection provided by Roe v. Wade?
Do you support legislation intended to prevent the harassment and intimidation of patients, providers, and staff at reproductive health facilities?
Do you oppose legislation that subjects individuals seeking abortion care to medically unnecessary and onerous restrictions, including waiting periods, ultrasounds, or state-written scripts?
Do you oppose Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws, which impose medically unjustified regulations on abortion providers?
Do you oppose bans on private and public insurance coverage for abortion, such as the federal Hyde Amendment?
Do you support continued state funding for providers who deliver reproductive health services to the uninsured and underinsured, including Medicaid funds for abortion?
Do you support requiring insurance plans to cover abortion services without cost sharing?
Do you oppose public funding for fake, non-medical clinics, sometimes called crisis pregnancy centers, which intentionally deceive women seeking abortion care?
Do you oppose policies that prohibit publicly funded community-based organizations from providing information about abortion (popularly known as the gag rule)?
Do you oppose policies and legislation that allow people to impose their own personal views on the rights of others who use reproductive health care in medical institutions, through medical providers and accessing that care either through public or private insurance?
Contraception, Family Planning, and Healthy Pregnancy
Do you support policies and legislation that protect and expand New Yorkers' access to a variety of contraception methods at no-copay, allow for increased dispensing and make emergency contraception easier to access?
Do you oppose punitive policies that restrict low-income individuals' access to health care, including Medicaid work requirements or prohibitions on Medicaid reimbursement for services obtained at Planned Parenthood?
Do you support policies that expand eligibility for prenatal services and promote health pregnancies?
Do you support legislation and policies to address maternal mortality rates and the racial disparities in maternal health in New York?
Promoting Youth Health and Safety
Do you oppose legislation that requires minors to obtain parental notice or consent before obtaining an abortion?
Do you support creating a statewide standard for comprehensive, medically accurate and age appropriate sexuality education programs for young people?
Do you support providing teens with access to confidential reproductive health care services, including contraception?
Do you support policies that allow individuals to obtain emergency contraception over the counter, regardless of age?
Social Justice Intersections
Reproductive rights do not exist in a vacuum. The following questions address issues that we believe intersect with and impact a person's ability to exercise their right to make decisions about their reproductive lives. In particular, the ability to control one's reproductive future is contingent upon the degree to which issues of economic, racial and gender injustice are being addressed in a given community, and is all too often linked to a person's economic status. This concept is frequently termed "intersectionality" because it recognizes that there are multiple, intersecting aspects of one's identity that can both enrich lives and compound marginalization.
This section of the questionnaire seeks to discover how a candidate understands the interconnectedness of reproductive rights with other social justice issues. Space has been given to allow for short written explanations of your position.
The reproductive rights movement and the LGBTQ movement both fight to protect the fundamental rights of individuals to control their bodies without government interference. NIRHAF PAC supports policies that ensure equal rights for LGBTQ people. The federal government is responsible for enacting policies that protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination and physical danger. People of all sexual orientations, identities, and genders need access to safe and affordable healthcare services and information, including abortion, contraception, and sexuality education, in order to determine their sexual and reproductive lives. Reproductive autonomy is intrinsic to human rights and dignity. Do you agree?
Yes, I agree.
With the federal government backing away from protections for LGBTQ people from the military to the schools, the New York State needs to up. In this regard, I support:
- The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) to ensure transgender and gender non-conforming people have equal protections in education, employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations (including banks, bus stations, court rooms, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, libraries).
- A bill to Outlaw "Conversion Therapy" because LGBTQ youth do not need to be "cured" from being who they are, but they do need to be protected from dangerous "conversion" practices, which have created serious negative health consequences, including social withdrawal, depression, and suicide.
- The Child-Parent Security Act. Current New York laws unfairly and unnecessarily burden families seeking to have children through the now common practice of gestational surrogacy where the carrier has no genetic connection to the child. The law must be changed in light of recent medical advances so that New York families can pursue a safe, regulated surrogacy arrangement in their own state that secures the parental relationships of children who are conceived and born with the assistance of egg or sperm donors or gestational carriers.
With respect to access to health care, I support the NY Health Act to provide all medically necessary services to all New Yorkers at lower cost through a single public payer. The bill must be strengthened to explicitly include access to all reproductive health services.
NIRHAF PAC SUPPORTS policies that lead to justice and opportunity for immigrants and stands in solidarity with Dreamers, refugees, and others seeking a safe home in the United States. Furthermore, both Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) have demonstrated an extreme disregard for the rights of pregnant women and those seeking abortion care while in custody. All people, whether American-born or immigrant and regardless of age, have the right to determine whether or when to have children, to become parents and parent with dignity, to have healthy pregnancies, and to keep their families intact. Do you agree?
Yes, I agree.
The right of the immigrants and unaccompanied to abortion is under question in the Azar v. Garza case. We can help protect that right in New York by passing the long-pending Reproductive Health Act.
I have been calling since my 2014 gubernatorial campaign for New York to be a Sanctuary State. Among the specific laws and policies to do this are:
- The New York DREAM Act to enable 4,500 undocumented students who graduate from high school each year to pursue a college education.
- Drivers Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants
- Expand the Liberty Defense Project funding to provide all immigrants with legal services and process.
- Enact the Liberty Act to state agencies from collecting or sharing an individual's immigration information with federal agencies.
- Maintain the Attorney General's Civil Rights Bureau guidance for local law enforcement to limit their participation in federal immigration enforcement activities to only actions mandated by a judicial warrant.
Reproductive rights are difficult to exercise when one is facing systemic economic injustice. NIRHAF PAC SUPPORTS policies that promote greater economic equality. Paid family and medical leave policies would allow parents and those caring for sick loved ones to continue supporting their families without fear of losing a job. Raising the minimum wage and eliminating the lower minimum cash wage for tipped workers would help millions of workers across the country support themselves and their families. Because women are a majority of minimum-wage workers, increasing the minimum wage would also help close the wage gap. Lack of resources (either money or time off) often force women to forgo or delay abortion care when they need it. Economic justice has a direct impact on reproductive freedom. Do you agree?
Yes, I agree.
The $15 minimum wage was a central demand of my 2014 gubernatorial campaign. It has been slowly and partially implemented at the state level. I now call for $20 by 2020 and $30 by 2030, with the $30 in 2030 adjusted by indexing to inflation and productivity starting with $20 in 2020.
In addition to the high inflation in health care costs that the New York Health Act would address, rents are also steeply escalating as wages remain stagnant, which is forcing more people, particularly single mothers, out of their homes and into homelessness. To address high rents and the lack of affordable housing, I support statewide rent control authority with home rule on rent regulations for local governments and a massive expansion of public housing to meet the demand for affordable housing. Instead of the old projects that segregated the poor and minorities, the new public housing developments should be high quality, mixed income, human scale, scatter site, and powered by clean energy.
NIRHAF PAC SUPPORTS true equity and justice for communities of color and believes that criminal justice practices that target these communities must change. Racial justice is inextricably linked to access to reproductive health care. It is not enough for individuals to be able to determine if and when they have children. All people, regardless of race, must be able to access appropriate health care and raise their families in safe environments with equal protection under the law. This need is undermined by racist law enforcement practices, federal drug policy, and other discriminatory practices and policies. Reproductive rights are not truly meaningful so long as communities of color face these systemic disadvantages. Do you agree?
Yes, I agree.
I support an extensive program of criminal justice reforms that address the disproportionate impact on communities of color.
- Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission: Appoint to address the impact of the war on drugs and mass incarceration, particularly on communities of color, and recommend policies to repair the damages.
- Legalize, Tax, and Regulate Cannabis
- Decriminalize Personal Use and Possession Hard Drugs: Adapt the successful drug decriminalization policy of Portugal to New York.
- Free Drug War Prisoners - Freedom and amnesty for all convicted for non-violent drug offenses related to personal use and posession.
- Drug Abuse Treatment on Demand: Drug treatment should be covered by a universal public health insurance program, which should invest in drug treatment clinics sufficient to meet the need.
- Bail Abolition: Abolish cash bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.
- Speedy Trial: Pass "Kalief's Law" to eliminate unjustified trial delays by prosectors.
- Open File Discovery: Make prosecutors' files open to defendants, with exceptions only when a judge rules turning over certain evidence might endanger a witness.
- Statewide Public Defenders Office: Full funding for a statewide public defenders office, administered by an independent public defense commission, to guarantee the right to quality counsel.
- Safe Parole Act: Shift the focus from punishment to incentives that help parolees reintegrate into society.
- Educational Opportunities for All Prisoners
- Ban Solitary Confinement: Enact the Humane Alternatives to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement bill to establish residential rehabilitation units (RRUs) as an alternative to isolated confinement.
- Ban the Box: End the practice of employers and public colleges such as SUNY using criminal history on initial applications. The right to know an applicant's criminal history would be deferred until a conditional offer of employment or enrollment is made.
- Voting Rights for Felons, including while incarcerated.
- Right to a Trial by a Jury of Peers: Change state law so that defendants in cities have the same right as defendants in towns to a jury of their peers from the same municipal jurisdiction.
- Alternatives to Incarceration: Probation or work release for paying fines, victim restitution, and community service. Work release and education release for prisoners preparing for re-entry into society.
NIRHAF PAC SUPPORTS gun safety measures that will help end gun violence in the United States. Reproductive justice depends on an individual's ability to choose when and how to have children, but also the ability to raise one's family in a secure environment. The gun violence epidemic undermines that principle and is one of the great public health crises of our time. In an average month, 50 American women are shot to death by intimate partners. For those who seek access to abortion care and the medical professionals and support staff who pride it, the specter of gun violence is all too real, as clinics and providers are often the targets of gun violence. Common sense, data-driven gun policies must be enacted to guarantee public safety. Do you agree?
Yes, I agree.
Specifically, I support:
- Ban the sale of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks.
- Universal background checks for gun and ammunition buyers, including closing the loophole for private sales and sales at gun shows, with records maintained in a central registry, not destroyed after 24 hours as under current law.
- Require all gun owners to pass a gun safety test, a visual test, and be licensed by a government agency, similar to the requirements for obtaining a driver license.
- Institute a 28-day waiting period after license application before firearms can be possessed.
- Expand the recently enacted prohibition on the purchase and possession of guns by people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes to include people convicted of menacing, assault, or unlawful imprisonment.
- Monitor the enforcement of gun safety laws to ensure equal treatment of all social groups by law enforcement.
NIRHAF PAC SUPPORTS policies that prevent sexual harassment and assault. The #MeToo movement has illuminated how pervasive sexual harassment and gender inequity are in all industries and environments. Among many possible tools to help stamp out sexual harassment is the implementation of comprehensive sexuality education, which includes vital information about the prevention of unintended pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and STIs, but also provides a foundational understanding of boundaries, bodily autonomy, and consent. This knowledge can help prevent child sexual abuse, teen dating violence, bullying, and sexual harassment. Do you agree?
Yes, I agree.
- Child Victims Act: Enact this extension of the statute of limitations to age 50 in civil cases and to age 28 in criminal cases for survivors of child sexual abuse.
- Enact the "Boss Bill" to prohibit an employer from taking adverse action against an employee because the employee or their dependent made a reproductive decision that conflicts with the employer's personal or religious beliefs.
- Strengthen Sexual Harassment Policy for State Employees: The sexual harassment law enacted in March 2018 needs strengthening. It bans nondisclosure agreements except when the condition of confidentiality is the explicit preference of the victim. It prohibits mandatory arbitration in sexual harassment complaints. It requires government employees found responsible for committing harassment to refund any taxpayer-financed payouts. But it failed to clearly define sexual harassment, which means the policies could be narrowly interpreted and ineffective. The public still cannot access records about harassment claims because the state Legislature is not subject to the state's own open records law. The law should also needs a more expansive coverage of gender-based discrimination.