Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg is now facing scrutiny over his veto of two bills that would have expanded access to emergency contraception back in 2003, during his term as mayor of New York.

HuffPost reports that despite objections from groups like the New York City Council and reproductive rights advocates, Bloomberg shot down two bills that would have helped women seeking additional birth control options.

One bill required pharmacies in New York that do not sell emergency contraception to post a sign alerting customers of that fact or suffer a penalty of no more than $500. The second reportedly would have regulated that city-funded hospital emergency rooms have morning-after pills available to rape victim patients. If the hospitals did not comply, the city would cease funding. 

ADVERTISEMENT

HuffPost quotes a former councilman, Democrat Oliver Koppell, as saying: “I can’t believe the mayor vetoed those bills ... This is something that is so important for women to have available to them, and it’s just incredible to me that anyone could not respond favorably to ... making these emergency contraceptive drugs available.”

Bloomberg was a registered Republican in 2003. 

The former mayor did sign a third bill that required health facilities that treated sexually transmitted disease cases supply the morning-after pill if a patient elected to take it. 

At the time, Bloomberg’s administration reportedly said that enforcing pharmacies to keep a sign in clear view would be difficult, and that costs interfered with supplying all publicly funded hospitals emergency contraception. 

A bill was eventually signed into law the same year by then-New York Gov. George Pataki (R), which required every hospital in New York state to carry the option of emergency contraceptions for rape victims. 

Published on Feb 19, 2020