New role looms for Melinda Katz

City Councilmember Melinda Katz has about 20 months left on her term of office and about two months left on a more important term - she’s going to be a mother.
The unmarried Katz revealed that she is carrying a son, who is due just before her 43rd birthday in June. The announcement came in a published report on Monday, April 7.
Katz was able to keep the pregnancy a secret for the first two trimesters - she reportedly only gained ten pounds. Even her staff was unaware of her condition until the Sunday night before the story broke, according to reports.
Having entered public service as a 28-year-old, the Forest Hills resident told the media, “When I turned 40, the doctors said listen you’ve been talking about getting pregnant for a long time. It’s now or never.”
After three failed attempts at in vitro fertilization, her maternal desire was realized, with donated egg and sperm. She says as of her last sonogram her baby was a healthy weight of nearly three pounds, but will not comment on whether she knows the identity of the donors.
Katz, who championed women’s health issues while in the State Assembly, had to pay for the expensive course of medical procedures herself, when she discovered that her health insurance wouldn’t cover the treatment.
“The state doesn’t cover a lot of fertility treatment and it should,” she reportedly said. “It’s a very expensive process and I was lucky enough to pull together tens of thousands of dollars,” she told a reporter, adding, “Many women don’t have that great fortune.”
Katz is paid $125,000 as a City Councilmember - and hopes to be elected as city Comptroller, a job which pays $185,000. “I worked so long, it should be available to most women,” she reportedly said.
While an Albany legislator, she reportedly wrote a law requiring Health Maintenance Organizations to provide women with direct access to gynecological care without having to go to a primary care physician first.
According to figures, approximately 2 percent of American women “of reproductive age” have problems conceiving normally and rely on science to fertilize an egg for them.
Even then, according to the Centers for Disease Control, less than 40 percent of these fertilization “cycles” result in a successful pregnancy. In Katz’ case, it reportedly took four attempts.
“Having a baby is an important part of life,” she is quoted as saying. “It’s a very emotional process, and by the end, I knew I really wanted this child, it was so long and arduous,” she later reportedly said.
One issue she said she wants to make part of her comptroller’s campaign is the issue of inequalities in insurance coverage. “The comptroller is a good bully pulpit,” she said.
Katz sees no problem with running for higher office, especially in an election that doesn’t happen until November of 2009.
By that time, she said, “I’ll have a toddler and last time I checked, all my opponents have children also, so I’m just joining the crowd.”
She seems to be taking the entire process in stride, even though she had some worries early on. “I am simply having a baby,” she told a reporter, adding, “People have been doing it for generations.”

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