Today the California Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development voted to advance the Justice and Equity in Maternity Care Act (SB 1237) authored by Sen. Dodd and co-sponsored by NARAL Pro-Choice California, Black Women for Wellness Action Project, California Nurse-Midwives Association, and United Nurses Association of California.
The Justice and Equity in Maternity Care Act aims to expand access to reproductive healthcare — including abortion care and high-quality maternity care — by removing the outdated physician supervision requirement for Certified Nurse-Midwives. Despite being a leader on reproductive freedom and healthcare innovation, California is one of only four states that still require physician supervision in order for nurse-midwives to practice.
NARAL Pro-Choice California Director Shannon Hovis, who testified at today’s hearing, issued the following statement:
“NARAL Pro-Choice California is proud to be a co-sponsor of SB 1237, a bill that’s critical to addressing our maternity care provider shortage and reducing racial disparities in maternal outcomes, which have only been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.
The outdated physician supervision requirement creates substantial barriers for pregnant people while doing nothing to improve safety or quality of care. Not only is this requirement unnecessary, it exacerbates the problem of ‘maternity deserts’ which limit access in rural counties and disproportionately impact communities of color.
As our state works to recover from this unprecedented pandemic, SB 1237 is essential for staving off a critical obstetrical shortage and will integrate midwifery care to improve maternal outcomes and safeguard access for our most vulnerable communities.”