Healthcare

New York Launches Pandemic Pregnancy Task Force

BY Morgan McKay New York State

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration on Monday launched a task force to examine best practices for pregnant women during this pandemic.

Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s top aide, and the New York Sate Council on Women and Girls created a COVID-19 maternity task force that will look at authorizing and certifying birthing centers as an alternative to going to a hospital.

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Will a Ban Actually End Virginity Testing?

BY Spectrum News NY1 New York City

State Senator Roxanne Persaud is sponsoring the bill to ban Virginity Testing in the Senate. She, too, was outraged by the T.I. incident, and has been working alongside Assembly Member Solages to have the practice outlawed. She’ll talk about why she believes it is so important in the age of #MeToo to protect women from having to take these tests, and she’ll talk about working to get other legislators to sign on to the bill, an effort that’s been very successful, she says, so far. She’ll also speak to why she agrees doctors need to be the focus of the bill, and how the medical community should be responsible for its front-line enforcement. And she’ll say why she believes, even though young women may be forced to find other means of having the testing done, step one needs to be stopping the medical community from performing virginity tests.

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The Bill to Ban Virginity Testing

BY Spectrum News NY1 New York City

Assembly Member Michaelle Solages was so incensed by the T.I. story, she immediately began working on legislation to make Virginity Testing illegal in New York State. Her bill would impose harsh penalties on any doctor in the state who performs virginity tests, including losing their licenses and possible prison time. It would also make tests done by people who are not medical professionals illegal, and those people would face charges of sexual abuse. The legislation, which actually amends existing public health law, would not allow virginity testing, even at the patient’s request. She’ll tell us why she believes putting doctors at the sharp end of this is the best way to halt the practice, and she’ll share the stories she’s heard from women who have been forced to go through virginity tests and lived with the humiliation for the rest of their lives.

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Outrage Over Virginity Testing

BY Spectrum News NY1 New York City

For reasons no one can fathom, the rapper T.I. announced on a podcast last November that he brings his daughter to the doctor every year for a virginity test. Then, he gleefully shared the results of her latest test. That series of statements sparked outrage among women’s rights advocates and pretty much women in general. Part of that outrage stemmed from the fact that not a lot of people knew Virginity Testing was a thing. Those who did thought it was something that happened in far-off lands and in “other cultures." In truth, it happens right here, a lot. A 2016 report showed that one in 10 gynecologists had been asked to perform virginity tests on patients. The tests have been described as “intrusive” and “barbaric,” and organizations like the World Health Organization, the United Nations and U.N.Women have demanded they be stopped. But how do you change cultural rituals that have been around for, in some cases, thousands of years. Lori Sokol and Nayaba Arinde have been fighting for women’s rights for a very long time. They join In Focus to talk about why this is wrong on so many levels. Dr. Deborah Ottenheimer is a woman’s health professional who has been asked by her patients to do virginity tests. She’ll explain why, even though she knows they are meaningless and even though she knows the practice is wrong, she will do them when asked by the patient, though not the more intrusive tests.

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Lawmakers, Advocates Want 3-Digit Suicide Hotline

BY Morgan McKay New York State

A bill that would create a three digit suicide hotline number was introduced in both the Senate and Assembly.

By changing the number to three digits, similar to 911, it could change how people view thoughts of suicide and treat it as an emergency, said Sen. David Carlucci, one of the sponsors of the measure.

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Drug Costs Remain An Issue For Older New Yorkers

BY Morgan McKay New York State

Nearly one in four New Yorkers over the age of 50 skipped taking their prescription medications in the last two years. The main reason? Cost.

More than 80 percent of those polled by AARP, including Republicans, Democrats and Independents, said that the government is not doing enough to combat high prescription drug prices.

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Health Officials Extend Vaping Products Ban Amid Legal Challenge

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A panel at the state Department of Health on Thursday moved to extend the state’s ban on flavored vaping products as it faces a legal challenge from an industry group.

The ban, first approved in September, was set to expire this weekend after a 90 day clock wound down. Enforcement of the ban itself has been delayed by a court order amid the lawsuit from the Vaping Association.

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