Affordable health care and services for women


The Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center
312 East 94th Street, 212-423-2900,

The center provides free and confidential mental health, family planning, and health education services to young people ages 10 to 21. Special programs include youth parenting classes and support groups for rape and incest survivors.

National Women's Health Network

This D.C.-based advocacy group fights for gender parity in health care through critical analysis of women's health issues. For a $10 fee, it will provide an information packet on a topic such as saline breast implants, endometriosis, or female orgasm; the cost includes lists of glossary terms, resources, and additional reading. Free fact sheets on issues like emergency contraception and access to health care are also available online.

National Women's Health Information Center

Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the center offers comprehensive women's health information on some 800 subjects, from nutrition and body image to menopause and hormone therapy. It also offers news and resources, including health publications, statistics, and medical glossaries, as well as a National Breastfeeding Helpline that gives free counseling to nursing mothers.

NYC Free Clinic
Sidney Hillman Clinic, 16 East 16th Street, 917-544-0735,

Every Saturday from 8:45 a.m. to noon, physicians and students of the NYU School of Medicine provide a variety of free health care services to the uninsured, from physical exams to pharmaceuticals to prenatal care. Appointments are only taken on Mondays between 4 and 5 p.m.

Women's Health Line
311, 718-230-1111, or 212-230-1111

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene runs a call center that provides information on a wide array of topics affecting women, including family planning, pre- and post-natal care, and menopause. Counselors will take into account the caller's location and financial situation before scheduling an appointment at a clinic, hospital, or other health services provider. Hotline services are available in English, Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole, as well as for the hearing impaired.

Women Veterans Health Program
Multiple locations, 212-686-7500,

Women vets are eligible for an extensive list of services through the VA Healthcare Network, offered at centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. They include cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis screenings; breast and pelvic exams, to nutritional counseling and weight management, and substance and sexual abuse counseling.

Pregnancy, Parenting & Reproductive Health

The Alan Guttmacher Institute
120 Wall Street, 21st floor, 212-248-1111,

This nonprofit advocates for reproductive choice, and features a state-by-state breakdown of abortion policies, including insurance restrictions. It also provides information and statistics on abortion cost, safety, and legality.

National Abortion Federation

The free, anonymous hotline run by this professional association of abortion providers will give you a referral to a member clinic, plus answer questions you may have about procedures, in English or in Spanish. You can also search for a list of local providers on its website.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health Clinics
Multiple locations, 311 or 212-442-1740,

Walk-in pregnancy testing, counseling, and referrals for delivery and pre- and post-natal care are among the free services offered at these city-run clinics, which serve pregnant women and mothers with children under a year old.

Planned Parenthood of New York City
Multiple locations, 212-965-7000,

Free pregnancy testing and options counseling are offered by this organization, which advocates for and provides women's reproductive health services. Also available by sliding-scale payment: birth control and emergency contraception, gynecological exams, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. Abortions, performed through the second trimester, require full payment.

The Postpartum Resource Center of New York

This nonprofit provides educational information and telephone support, including health care referrals and links to local support groups for mothers suffering from prenatal and postpartum depression.

Urban Baby

An online community of city mamas and mamas-to-be discuss only-in-New York topics such as organic baby food, au pairs, and stylish maternity wear. The site also features informative sections on everything from special-needs support groups to hospitals with progressive birthing policies, not to mention lists of popular NYC baby names by nabe.

Cancer & Life- Threatening Illnesses

American Cancer Society
19 West 56th Street, 3rd floor, 800-ACS-2345,

The Manhattan regional office offers a variety of free programs for cancer patients and their families, including "Look Good . . . Feel Better," which teaches women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments beauty techniques that will enhance their appearance and self-image. The service is also available to the Spanish and Chinese language communities; call for location and times and to register.

Breast Examination Center of Harlem
163 West 125th Street, 4th floor, 212-531-8000,

Women ages 40 and up should have regular mammograms to detect breast cancer, while sexually active women ages 18 to 65 should have routine Pap smears to test for cervical cancer. Both are offered for free at this Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center outreach program, founded to improve the early detection of breast cancer in Harlem residents, as well as offer them access to high-quality healthcare.

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