For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Sacramento — Today, the California state Senate Committee on Education voted to advance SB 379, the Equitable and Inclusive UC Healthcare Act, which ensures that University of California Health System (UC Health) providers and trainees are able to provide a full range of healthcare services, including reproductive and LGBTQ-inclusive care, at all facilities where UC providers practice. SB 379 is co-sponsored by NARAL Pro-Choice California, Equality California, and the ACLU of California.
Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) introduced SB 379 last month in response to the UC having entered into healthcare facility contracts that subject UC medical providers and students to harmful, non-medical restrictions that explicitly prevent them from providing reproductive and gender-affirming care to patients in non-UC facilities. UC Health is the fourth largest health system in California, and plays a central role in training medical students and caring for Californians.
In response to SB 379 advancing out of committee, the bill co-sponsors NARAL Pro-Choice California, Equality California, and ACLU of California, released the following joint statement:
“Equitable access to comprehensive and inclusive healthcare is a fundamental Californian value. Students, patients, and healthcare providers depend on the UC, a public institution, to embody those same values. We applaud the members of the Senate Education Committee for taking this critical step toward ensuring that University of California medical providers and students are able to provide high-quality, patient-centered care free from unnecessary and harmful restrictions. As states across the country continue to wage attacks on reproductive freedom and LGBTQ+ civil rights, we’re proud to co-sponsor SB 379 and look forward to seeing SB 379 advance in the California legislature.”
Assemblymembers Christina Garcia (D-Los Angeles), Chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, and Assemblymember Evan Low (D-San Jose), Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, are principal co-authors of the bill. Senators John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) and Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) are co-authors of this legislation. California law recognizes reproductive healthcare—including abortion—as basic healthcare, restricts public health entities from preferring one pregnancy outcome over another, and prohibits discrimination against transgender patients seeking gender-affirming care. Despite existing law, people in California are still being denied these very critical healthcare services.
Despite public outcry from the UC community, reproductive, LGBTQ, and health equity advocates, and both state and federal elected officials, UC has withdrawn from any public process: a UC Regents vote that was scheduled on this issue has been cancelled, and an internal working group’s recommendations have been publicly ignored. Up to this point, UC has displayed a concerning lack of transparency, leaving patients, advocates, and lawmakers in the dark about these contracts and what they mean for basic or urgent care. As reproductive and LGBTQ-inclusive care continues to be restricted across the country, it is up to California to lead by example.
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.