For Immediate Release: Saturday, September 19, 2020
California — Yesterday Governor Newsom took a critical and long overdue step to expand reproductive freedom and improve pregnancy and birth outcomes in California by signing the Justice and Equity in Maternity Act (SB 1237) into law.
Despite being a leader on reproductive freedom and healthcare innovation, California is an outlier in access to nurse-midwifery care and is one of only four states that still require physician supervision in order for nurse-midwives to practice.
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Project, California Nurse-Midwives Association, and United Nurses Association of California — will remove California’s outdated physician supervision requirement for Certified Nurse-Midwives, improving pregnancy and birth outcomes and expanding access to affordable, high-quality care.
In response, NARAL Pro-Choice California Director Shannon Hovis released the following statement:
“NARAL Pro-Choice California and our 295,000 members statewide applaud Governor Newsom for signing the Justice and Equity in Maternity Act (SB 1237) into law. As one of the last states in the nation to still have this outdated requirement on the books — and the state with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country — this law is a long overdue step toward expanding access to midwifery care at a time when Californians need it most. By better integrating and removing unnecessary barriers to care, SB 1237 will reduce racial disparities in pregnancy and birth outcomes which have only been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. We thank Governor Newsom for honoring his commitment to fight for equitable access to high-quality care for pregnant people and families across California.”
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.