Children of Bellevue is deeply saddened and angered by today’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. It is completely antithetical to our mission and values that bodily autonomy is reserved only for a portion of our population, thus forcing the other into situations that could threaten the wellbeing of their own life and ability to reach their greatest potential. Children and adolescents who suffer from unwanted pregnancies due to rape and incest remain the most vulnerable and are now left with even fewer options – or no options at all – for proper care, and this is unacceptable. Partnering with the healthcare providers at NYC Health+Hospitals/Bellevue, Children of Bellevue is grateful for the privilege of serving New York children and their families in a state with some of the most comprehensive abortion protection laws. For those outside of New York State seeking reproductive healthcare, you have a safe haven here and we will continue to fight for your access to it.
Last month, Children of Bellevue (CoB) had the pleasure of welcoming U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Assistant Secretary Admiral Rachel Levine to Bellevue Hospital. Admiral Levine had an opportunity to visit a variety of programs at Bellevue which receive support from CoB. She also spoke with CoB’s Executive Director, Sarah Beth Lardie, about the expansion of CoB programs.
Admiral Levine was trained as a pediatrician at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital, As a physician she concentrated on the intersection between physical care and mental health, similar to the work that is being done by the various Child and Adolescent Psychiatry programs at Bellevue supported by Children of Bellevue.
In 2015, Admiral Levine was nominated as Physician General in the State of Pennsylvania and was later named Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health. While in state government, she focused on Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis, child immunization and maternal health. In her current role of she has been a leading figure in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, LGBTQ+ medicine and eating disorders.
During her visit to Bellevue Hospital, Admiral Levine met with staff from the Pediatrics Department, Child Life, the Loeb Center, and the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department. She also met with CoB Board Chair, Jennifer Giasone, and long-time CoB Board Member Tom Colicchio. It was an honor to welcome Admiral Levine!
There were 13 mass shootings in the first weekend in June, fewer than two weeks after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, marking the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Different sources vary on the definition of a mass shooting, but the US Department of Justice, the Congressional Research Service and the Gun Violence Archive all define it as an incident where four or more people were shot, not counting the shooter as a victim 1 . As of June 7 th , 2022 246 mass shootings have occurred in the United States. More than 18,800 people have died due to gun violence overall in 2022 2 .
Whether the tragedy occurs in Sandy Hook, Orlando, Las Vegas, Buffalo, or Uvalde, the Board of Directors and staff of Children of Bellevue are heartbroken by the tragic loss of life – particularly the lives of innocent children. We stand with those who grieve while acknowledging that the time for offering words of comfort has long passed. We lend our voices to the calls for action by our elected officials.
We support the gun control legislation signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul yesterday which saw New York raise the age (from 18 to 21) for people to be able to purchase semiautomatic weapons and prohibiting the sale and purchase of body armor for anyone not in law enforcement. These new rules, in addition to the strengthening of existing “red flag” laws (which allow courts to temporarily take away guns from people who might be a threat to themselves or others) are welcome changes which will help to prevent future acts of gun violence. But changes in New York are not enough.
We await the formal legislation which emerges from the bipartisan negotiations which occurred this weekend among members of the United States Senate. If successful, this would be the first new gun control legislation to be enacted in nearly three decades. We look forward to supporting and celebrating meaningful progress on gun control and gun safety measures at the city, state, and national level.
To read the official statement from the Office of the Mayor please click here.
The Board of Directors of Children of Bellevue (CoB) is proud to support the rights of every individual to have access to the medical care and mental health services which enable them to thrive and flourish. During this National LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week, we are excited to speak openly about LGBTQ+ health, raise awareness of mental health, particularly trans individuals’ health, and end stigma through accessible and inclusive healthcare services so that everyone can fully live a healthy life.
Recent actions at the state level in Florida, Texas, and other places where similar legislation currently target LGBTQ+ youth, those who love them, and the professionals who care for them, is in direct contradiction to the values of our organization. They are discriminatory and potentially dangerous to the health of LGBTQ+ youth. CoB has always listened to medical experts and doctors here at NYC Health + Hospitals / Bellevue and across the country, and they are speaking out against these actions and against anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in general.
“It is critically important for every child to have access to quality, comprehensive and evidence-based care
— transgender and gender-diverse youth are no exception.”
– Lee Savio Beers, M.D., FAAP, American Academy of Pediatrics Immediate Past President
For more information regarding accessibility of care for LGBTQ+ individuals, please visit the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights. The Department of Health and Human Services has issued notices and guidance clarifying that, despite state legislative threats, health care providers are not required to disclose private patient information related to sexual orientation or gender affirming care. They reaffirm existing laws and federal legislation that denials of health care based on sexual gender identity are illegal, as is restricting doctors and health care providers from providing care because of a patient’s gender identity.
Click here for more information on the commitment of New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation to providing access to comprehensive, high-quality care for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers.
New York City Families can also find more resources at https://lgbtqequity.org/.