For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 1, 2020
California — Late last night, the state Legislature took major steps to expand reproductive freedom in California by passing two bills championed by NARAL Pro-Choice California, the Justice and Equity in Maternity Care Act (SB 1237) and the Ensuring Job Protection for Paid Family Leave Act (SB 1383). Both bills now head to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk to be signed into law.
SB 1237 — authored by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and co-sponsored by NARAL Pro-Choice California, Black Women for Wellness Action Project, California Nurse-Midwives Association, and United Nurses Association of California — will remove California’s outdated physician supervision requirement for Certified Nurse-Midwives, improving pregnancy and birth outcomes and expanding access to affordable, high-quality care.
SB 1383 — authored by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) — will extend job protection to the millions of Californians who pay into the Paid Family Leave program, but are unable to access it for fear of losing their job. Currently, 40% of California workers do not qualify for job protection when they need to take leave because of an illness or injury or to care for a family member, and 25% have no job protection when they take leave to bond with a new child. This change alone will close the gap in coverage so that only 8% of eligible workers are excluded.
In response, NARAL Pro-Choice California Director Shannon Hovis released the following statement:
“NARAL Pro-Choice California and our 295,000 members statewide applaud our champions in the Legislature for passing these two critical and long overdue bills. For several years, advocates have tried and failed to advance both policies, facing steep opposition from powerful interest groups and moderate Democrats. With the passage of SB 1237 and SB 1383, our legislators honor their commitment to safeguarding and expanding reproductive freedom for all Californians.
The truth is that when it comes to access to midwifery care and to protecting access to paid family leave, California is woefully behind. The Golden State remains one of only four states that continue to require physician supervision for nurse-midwives, and five other states—Oregon, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island—already guarantee universal job protection for paid family leave.
The passage of SB 1237 and SB 1383 finally brings California up to speed to protect and expand reproductive freedom for all people. We look forward to Governor Newsom swiftly signing both of these bills into law.”