Public Health Solutions, located on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, with a second location on Flatbush Avenue, has taken steps to shut its doors next month after losing federal funding to provide abortion and other family planning services.
Thousands of women who rely on these services — primarily low-income families and new immigrants — could potentially lose out if they shutter by September 3. Thirty staff members at the two clinics would also lose their jobs.
"Back in early August, which is only a few days ago, they already started to take steps for an eventual closing in early September," said Walter Mosley, a Democrat who represents parts of Brooklyn in the state Assembly.
The cuts come from the Donald Trump Administration, which has blocked federal funding known as Title X from being used for abortions.
"After the Trump Administration came down with their gag rule, stripping Title X funding of all sorts of sexual and reproductive health clinics across the state, the real danger is for smaller health clinics who are in need of funding to keep up staff and keep up resources," said Nily Rozic, a Democrat who represents parts of Queens in the state Assembly.
Anticipating this could be a problem, members of the New York state legislature earlier this year came up with a contingency plan: they allocated $16 million in this year's budget to make up for the federal shortfall after Trump first proposed the gag order in February.
But the Andrew Cuomo Administration has yet to release the state funds.
"As early as this year, I put in legislation that would bridge that gap," Rozic said. "We also created a fund within the state budget that was passed in April. And that is based on the numbers that we anticipated in a worst-case scenario. And unfortunately we are there."
In a statement, a senior adviser to Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, "The Administration has been in constant contact with Public Health Solutions and the threats of layoffs are 100% avoidable. The funding issues are getting worked out now at the highest levels."
Sources say the clinics are hoping to get funding through at least the end of the fiscal year, which is March 31. Layoffs should be avoidable if it comes through, but so far the state funding has not yet been released.
UPDATE, 2:02 p.m. Tuesday: After this story was published, a statement in response was provided to NY1 by Lisa David, president and CEO of Public Health Solutions. The statement is below:
"Public Health Solutions’ sexual and reproductive health centers serve 4,000 low-income New Yorkers who live in some of the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. Our centers provide comprehensive family planning services, which include referrals to abortion services as needed. We chose to reject federal Title X funding because the new gag rule interferes in the trusted patient-provider relationship and would require us to compromise the high-quality care we have been providing our clients for decades."
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