Bill Memos

A.1378, Cahill / S.3668, Bonacic: In relation to expanding contraceptive insurance coverage

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced legislation, requested by the Attorney General, would expand current law to require increased insurance coverage for contraception, abortion-causing drugs, and voluntary sterilization. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this measure.

In 2002, New York State lawmakers passed the “Women’s Health and Wellness Act” which requires insurance plans with prescription coverage to cover FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices, and provides insufficient protections for religious employers.

The legislation now before you would go further by mandating cost-free contraceptives, requiring that a 12-month supply of contraceptives be covered at one time, and including emergency contraception (EC), the so-called “morning-after pill.” We believe that enabling such large amounts of prescription medication, particularly in such high doses as emergency contraception, to get into the hands of young people is irresponsible and dangerous public policy. More

A.1748, Glick / S.2796 Krueger In Relation to Abortion Expansion

This legislation is a re-branded attempt to expand abortion in New York State, similar to the failed tenth plank of the 2013 “women’s equality agenda.” But the language is new; it is bolder in its breadth and extremism. It is not a simple update of New York’s laws. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this bill.

It’s a late-term abortion expansion.

No matter how the bill is re-worded, the primary objective of this legislation is to expand late-term abortion. Current state law says abortions are legal in New York through 24 weeks of pregnancy (Article 125 Penal Law), but outlawed after that unless they are necessary to save a woman’s life. This bill would repeal the Penal Law references to abortion and insert a “health” exception into the newly-written Public Health Law. Such a “health” exception has been broadly interpreted by the courts to include age, economic, social and emotional factors. As a result, this bill will allow abortion for any reason and at any time during a pregnancy, including into the ninth month. It will encourage more late-term abortionists to come into New York and it will lead to more third-trimester abortions in New York State. More

A.2646-A, Simotas / S.3148-A, Savino: In relation to an insurance mandate for in vitro fertilization

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced legislation would require large group health insurance plans to cover the costs of in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete and embryo transfers, and other assisted reproductive technologies.  The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation.

While the Catholic Church empathizes with childless married couples yearning for the joys of parenthood, the Conference holds grave concerns with this insurance mandate.  These concerns include the legislation’s a) requirement for funding acts that destroy innocent human embryos, both inside and outside the womb; b) endorsement of technologies which promote the manufacture of human beings, contribute to the breakdown of family relationships, and interfere with the natural act of marital sexual intercourse; and c) lack of any conscience protection for religious employers and those with ethical objections to assisted reproductive technologies. More

S.4795, Lanza / A.1610, Rozic: In relation to segregated confinement of pregnant inmates

Memorandum of Support


This legislation would prohibit pregnant women and new mothers incarcerated throughout New York State from being placed in segregated confinement, also known as solitary confinement. The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation.

Both the U.S. Department of Justice and New York State recognize the problematic effects that excessive use of solitary confinement can have on an inmate. The U.S. Department of Justice in its Report and Recommendations Concerning the Use of Restrictive Housing states, “Women who are pregnant, who are postpartum, who recently had a miscarriage, or who recently had a terminated pregnancy should not be placed in restrictive housing.” The U.S. Department of Justice further suggests that even in exceptional circumstances when segregated confinement is used due to a severe and immediate threat to the safety of others, that those placed in segregated confinement should be reassessed daily and moved from such confinement as soon as it safe to do so. New York State, in settling the class action case of Peoples v. Fischer, also recognized that the criminal justice system needed to reduce the frequency, duration, and severity of the utilization of solitary confinement for everyone incarcerated in the prison system. More

A.566, Jaffee / S.3791, Krueger: In relation to reproductive health care decisions

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced legislation aims to prevent employers – whether private, non-profit, for-profit or religious – from exercising their religious freedom in the businesses they operate. For the reasons outlined below, the New York State Catholic Conference opposes this bill.

The fundamental purpose of this legislation is to remove any possibility of an employer making employment-related decisions based upon their religious beliefs. In the area of “reproductive health decisions,” the bill could therefore have the effect of repealing current protections in New York law (e.g., Executive Law Section 296[11]) that permit religious employers to take employment-related actions based on the religious principles upon which they are established or maintained.

We believe this legislation represents an unconstitutional infringement on religious freedom. The legislation blatantly and unfairly targets only religious employers and private business owners with religious beliefs. The United States and New York State Constitutions protect the religious freedom of religious and other private employers, enabling them to believe as they choose and determine employee benefits based on those beliefs. More

A.7637-A, Crespo / S.6009-A, Ranzenhofer: In relation to including private and religious schools in school energy efficiency collaboration programs

The above-referenced legislation amends Chapter 403 of the laws of 2016, in relation to including private and religious schools in school energy efficiency collaboration programs.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation. More

A.2293, Morelle: In Relation to the Sale of Monuments

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced bill applies to cemeteries organized and operated under the Religious Corporations Law and would prohibit those cemeteries from selling monuments and memorials. The Catholic Conference continues to object to governmental encroachment on the operation of Church-affiliated cemeteries. These cemeteries perform burial services according to the rites and rituals of the Church and, as such, are and should remain outside the purview of governmental intrusion.

The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation.

It is vital for financial stability to allow religious cemeteries to supplement and diversify their revenue sources to ensure perpetual care, maintenance and stability of the cemetery. More

A.8178, Hevesi: In Relation to Home Stability Support Programs

Memorandum of Support

It is unacceptable that the Empire State has more than 150,000 homeless children and another 80,000 families on the brink of homelessness. It is even more shocking that 19,000 more children become homeless each year.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation. More

S.6089, Marcellino / A.7833, Cusick: In Relation to the Calculation of Nonpublic School Aid

Memorandum of Support

UPDATE: Read our statement of Governor Cuomo’s veto of this bill.

The above-referenced legislation would clarify that the State Education Department may continue to utilize the nearly four decades old “instructional time” standard as the basis for providing reimbursement to nonpublic schools for their participation in the mandated services aid program.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this measure and strongly urges enactment of this legislation. More

S.5751-A, Golden / A.8121, Gjonaj: In relation to establishing September 4 as “Mother Teresa Remembrance Day”

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced legislation would establish September 4 as Mother Teresa Remembrance Day in New York State, commemorating the date of her canonization as a saint by Pope Francis on September 4, 2016.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports the legislation as a fitting tribute to one of the most remarkable figures of the 20th century. More