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Draft of speech: NYC council speaker to push for birth control funding

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito delivered

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito delivered her second State of the City address at the Samuel Gompers Campus in the South Bronx on Feb. 11, 2016. Photo Credit: John Roca

The speaker of the New York City Council is expected to propose taxpayers-funded birth control, a centralized sex-ed curriculum for all public schoolchildren, and further city efforts against the Trump administration’s immigration enforcers, according to draft excerpts of a speech she will deliver Thursday.

In her fourth and final State of the City speech, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is also planning to push for a reduction of inmates at Rikers Island, the city’s jail complex, the enacting of a program to feed children, seniors and families without enough to eat, strengthen tenant harassment laws, and set up roadblocks to President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement.

“We will not abandon our immigrant communities. They are members of our New York family. And we will continue to fight for their rights, safety and security,” according to the speech, titled “Who We Are,” and set to be delivered at noon at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood.

On crime and punishment, Mark-Viverito is expected to push for less red tape to “remove inefficiencies, and stop the churn of detainees — primarily young men of color, from unnecessary and harmful incarceration.”

To do so, she would, among other changes, require city jails to accept bail right after a criminal court orders it, and free inmates within a few hours — shorter than is currently the practice and other changes.

The contraception plan would fund the purchase and distribution of birth control pills, vaginal rings, intrauterine devices, Plan B, sterilization and other methods, for women who are either uninsured or have old health plans that don’t cover the items, according to Mark-Viverito’s spokeswoman. Her office did not immediately provide an exact cost.

There are tens of thousands of women who would be eligible for birth control under the plan — including about 25 percent of municipal workers, whose plans were grandfathered under Obamacare and aren’t required to provide birth control, the spokeswoman said.

The sex-education proposal would create a task force to make recommendations on the curriculum, which is currently set at the local level, according to the spokeswoman. One idea, she said: The lessons would aim to teach how to cope with sexual abuse and trauma.

Mark-Viverito revealed last year that she was a victim of sexual abuse as a child — a fact she felt compelled to disclose after leaked audio of then-candidate Trump bragging about groping women without permission.

“When equal rights come under attack . . . when women are threatened . . . and when it seems as though we are being plunged back into the dark ages . . . We march. We protest,” a draft of the speech says. “We come together . . . and we unite to beat back the blunt forces of ignorance, sexism and misogyny.”

Mark-Viverito, a Democrat who is term-limited from running for re-election, wants to block the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency from many private areas of city property without a warrant, limit what confidential information the city collects, data that could ould be used by the federal government to enforce immigration laws and track down people to detain.

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