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New York assigns $1 million for sex worker health care

Empire State Republicans have condemned the move, saying it will encourage an illegal industry.

Published: July 24, 2023 5:05pm

The New York Department of Health has allocated $1 million over two years in public funds to a pilot "sex worker health" program that critics have suggested may be the beginning of an effort to decriminalize prostitution in the Empire State.

The plan would provide New York City sex workers with sexual and behavioral health care, as well as primary and dental care, the New York Post reported. The program has not received approval from the legislature and is an administration initiative.

Empire State Republicans have condemned the move.

Republican state Rep. Sam Pirozzolo, who represents Staten Island, fumed at the plan, according to the Post, saying "[t]he Democrats in New York are pushing everything that is antithetical to the norms of society ... What are they going to have, a prostitution card? This is a 100 percent step in the direction to decriminalize prostitution."

The state Department of Health told the Post that it "remains committed to providing affirming, compassionate support and quality services to all residents without stigma and discrimination. Access to comprehensive sexual health services improves the quality of life for everyone."

Earlier this year, Democratic lawmakers introduced a measure to decriminalize, but not legalize, sex work in the state, Spectrum News reported.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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