New York City will provide free abortion pills at four sexual health clinics in an effort to break down barriers to abortion in low-income communities, Mayor Eric Adams said this week.
“New York City has always been a beacon of leadership in this nation, and we’re going to continue to lead,” Adams said during a speech on women’s health at City Hall Tuesday.
The clinics are funded and run by the city and, unlike hospitals, do not require patients to disclose their insurance status. Such clinics primarily provide health care to marginalized communities, according to a Gothamist article.
While 11 public city hospitals currently offer abortion pills, they are run separately from the city’s health department and, as such, generally require a person’s insurance information.
According to the city’s health commissioner, Ashwin Vasan, MD, PhD, the rollout of the clinics may take up to one year due to federally mandated training that health care workers must undergo before they are allowed to distribute abortion pills.
The first clinic to offer the abortion pills for free is the Morrisania Sexual Health Clinic in the Bronx, which started doing so this week. By the end of this year, three other city-run clinics will operate in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. As part of a $1.2 million package that will provide a broader range of health care services to New York City, abortion pills will be free to clinic patients.
Vasan said the four clinics could administer up to 10,000 medication abortions per year. In 2022, such abortions accounted for more than half of all those in the United States, according to data from Guttmacher Institute.
“We’re going to build upon the access to care that we have in our public hospital system,” Vasan said. “We’re going to supplant that with our public clinics—our truly public clinics—that are walk-up, all access.”