For Immediate Release: June 27, 2020


NARAL Pro-Choice California Applauds the State Senate for Passing the Justice and Equity in Maternity Care Act (SB 1237) 

Yesterday the California state Senate passed 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 will expand access to reproductive healthcare — including abortion care and high-quality maternity care — by removing California’s outdated physician supervision requirement for Certified Nurse-Midwives. Despite the fact that research indicates that physician supervision does not improve maternal or infant health outcomes and rather contributes to reduced access and higher costs, California remains one of only four states that still require physician supervision in order for nurse-midwives to practice.

The bill will now head to the state Assembly to be heard when they return from recess.

NARAL Pro-Choice California Director Shannon Hovis issued the following statement:

“NARAL and our 270,000 members in California applaud our champions in the state Senate who supported SB 1237. The reality is that this bill is long overdue. Despite being a leader on reproductive freedom and healthcare innovation, California is one of the last states in the nation to continue to have this outdated and unnecessary requirement on the books. 

The COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide uprising against entrenched white supremacy have magnified the urgency of addressing systemic racism in all segments of our society — including healthcare. By better integrating and removing unnecessary barriers to midwifery care, this bill is a critical step for reducing racial disparities in maternal outcomes that for too long have been perpetuated by California’s shortage of obstetrical workers. NARAL is proud to be a co-sponsor of the Justice and Equity in Maternity Care Act and we look forward to celebrating its swift passage in the Assembly.”

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