For Immediate Release: Friday, January 22, 2021
SACRAMENTO — Today, on the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, state Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) joined a robust coalition of reproductive healthcare providers and advocates to introduce SB 245, the Abortion Accessibility Act. The bill would require all state-licensed commercial health plans and insurers to cover abortion care without imposing co-payment, deductible, or any type of cost-sharing.
While California is a national leader when it comes to protecting abortion rights, far too many women and pregnant people continue to experience barriers to care. People enrolled in commercial and private insurance often pay high deductibles and copays that range from forty dollars to thousands of dollars, costs that are significant especially for low- and middle-income families.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the inequities that exist within our healthcare system, and unfortunately, reproductive care is not the exception to these shortcomings,” said Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach). “Everyone should have the right to make their own decision about when, if and how to start a family. Yet when it comes to Black, Latinx, Indigenous, trans and non-binary individuals, people with disabilities, young people, low-income and rural families and women of color—that choice, that constitutional right can quickly disappear under the financial strain of co-payments, deductibles and debt.”
In announcing the bill, Senator Gonzalez was joined by a supportive coalition of experts and advocates in discussing what barriers, as well as systemic inequities, impact abortion access.
“ACCESS REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE is thrilled to have the Abortion Accessibility Act introduced today by Senator Gonzalez. On our healthline, we regularly hear how high co-pays and deductibles –anywhere from $50 to over $2,000– present an immense barrier to our callers as they try to obtain the abortion care they desire,” said Jessica Pinckney, Executive Director, ACCESS REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE. “Everyone deserves the right to get their abortion without facing any barriers, including financial barriers presented through cost-sharing.”
“As an organization that defends the right to health, we are delighted to be part of this effort to make abortion more available to all Californians irrespective of how much they earn or what type of health insurance they have,” said Fabiola Carrión, Senior Attorney at the National Health Law Program. “In the midst of a public health emergency, we should remove all barriers to health care access.”
“NARAL Pro-Choice California and our more than 295,000 members are committed to ensuring that every body in California is able to access abortion care. While we’re proud that California is a national leader on abortion rights, without access to affordable care the right to abortion is a right in name only,” said Shannon Olivieri Hovis, Director of NARAL Pro-Choice California. “We cannot truly be considered a reproductive freedom state until all Californians are able to access–and afford–abortion care. By removing cost barriers to abortion, this bill is an important step toward guaranteeing that all Californians, regardless of their financial circumstances, have equitable, timely access to the care they need.”
“As we celebrate the 48th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must acknowledge that for many people, abortion access is already out of reach despite the right to safe, legal abortion. The same is true even in California,” said Jodi Hicks, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “We know for many people with low incomes and Black and Brown people, already forced to navigate a legacy of racist and discriminatory systems, barriers like affordability can significantly impact access to care. We thank Senator Gonzalez for introducing SB 245, the Abortion Accessibility Act, which will help break down barriers to care and expand access so that reproductive freedom is a reality for every person.”
“At the core of reproductive justice is the right to have children, not have children, and the ability to raise your family with dignity. The Abortion Accessibility Act uplifts these values by allowing people to make their own decisions about if, how and when they are going to start or continue their family free from the shame of not being able to afford vital healthcare,” said Nourbese Flint, Executive Director of Black Women for Wellness Action Project. “We want to thank Senator Gonzalez for boldly introducing this bill that is continuing the path to true reproductive freedom in the State of California.
On the first day of introduction, SB 245, the Abortion Accessibility Act, is already co-authored by 10 members of the Democratic Legislative Women’s Caucus. The bill now awaits referral to a Senate policy committee.
“It is heartbreaking to imagine the devastating stress and crushing uncertainty that individuals have to go through, as they rush to save funds in hopes of getting the care they need. If our state is to be a true leader and defender of reproductive freedom, then we must ensure care for those who need it most,” continued Senator Gonzalez.
Once passed, the Abortion Accessibility Act will help ensure all pregnant people have access to abortion, regardless of income, insurance-type, race, zip code, or bank account.
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.
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) is the state public policy office representing California’s seven separately incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates. Through advocacy and electoral action, PPAC promotes sound public policy in areas of sexual and reproductive health care and sex education.
ACCESS REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE is a community-based organization that removes barriers and builds the power of Californians to achieve reproductive justice.