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Free abortion pills among the many promises NYC mayor makes in awkward speech about women's health: We're 'afraid of saying the word vagina'
Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Free abortion pills among the many promises NYC mayor makes in awkward speech about women's health: We're 'afraid of saying the word vagina'

On Tuesday, the Democratic mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, made a speech about women's health, promising a series of new, gender-based programs, including free abortion "medication" at city clinics, and mentioning a number of awkward topics, including vaginal discomfort, his sister's menstrual experiences, and the "stigma" associated with menopause.

Flanked by several black women, all of whom wore masks, a maskless Adams opened his speech by insisting that "we are betraying [women] when it comes to their health." He then proceeded to enumerate the harms that had supposedly been inflicted on women — especially "Black and Latino women" — and the ways that New York would begin to rectify those wrongs.

In doing so, he also spoke openly and with confidence about some private female concerns. "Vaginal discomfort is one of the top reasons women go to the doctor," he asserted at one point. He then added that "[w]e would have a lot more research and care option for women's health if we weren't so afraid of saying the word vagina." Anne Williams-Isom, the deputy mayor for health and human services, seemed to confirm Adams' focus on women's genitalia when she claimed that Adams once "came to us to said, 'I think we should talk about vaginas more.'"

Mayor Eric Adams Delivers Address on Women's Healthyoutu.be

Adams hinted that he became interested in women's gynecological health during his during his younger years when he watched his sister endure painful menstrual cycles. Adams gave a graphic account of his sister's experience, recalling, "She was in pain, but she wasn't taken seriously. She was told it was all in her head, that she was hysterical. She was rushed through the system with no relief."

He then mentioned his mother's struggles with menopause and later promised that NYC would "change the stigma around menopause," a topic which he claimed has traditionally been "taboo." Now, Adams said he wants to "create more menopause-friendly workplaces from our city workers through improving policies and our buildings." However, he did not elaborate on the ways that NYC buildings are unfriendly to women going through menopause or how they might be made more accommodating.

Perhaps the most notable promise Adams made in his speech was that abortion-inducing drugs, which he euphemistically called "medication," will be dispensed for free at one city clinic in the Bronx beginning on Wednesday. Three other city clinics will be licensed to dispense the abortion pills, free of charge, by the end of the year. "No other city in the nation or in the world has a public health department that is providing medication abortion," he bragged. "We are the first."

"And let me be clear," Adams stated elsewhere in his speech, "abortion is and always will be legal in New York City."

As might be expected, Adams also paid homage to men who identify as women. Alongside famous female figures like Eleanor Roosevelt and Shirley Chisholm, Adams referenced Marsha P. Johnson, a drag queen and "gay liberation" activist who died, perhaps by suicide, in 1992. Adams also promised that New York would soon become a "city where our LGBTQI+ New Yorkers can get the healthcare they need." And while Adams verbally mentioned "women" when discussing the disparate maternal mortality rates of black and white mothers, a city press release instead altered that language and referred instead to "Black pregnant people" and "white pregnant people."

"We're going to build a city that is here for all women and girls," Adams affirmed in closing.

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