For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Sacramento—Yesterday, three NARAL-sponsored bills expanding reproductive freedom in California—SB 65 (Skinner), SB 245 (Gonzalez), and SB 523 (Leyva) passed out of their respective Assembly committees. All three bills have previously passed through the state Senate.
In response, NARAL Pro-Choice California Director Shannon Olivieri Hovis said:
“All Californians, regardless of their income level, gender identity, health insurance plan, or where they live or work, should be able to make their own decisions about if, when, or how to grow their family. Yesterday’s passage of three bills advancing reproductive freedom aligns with California’s legacy of expanding access to equitable care—free from unnecessary delays, discrimination, or barriers. NARAL Pro-Choice California is proud to co-sponsor SB 65, SB 245, and SB 523, and will continue working to pass laws ensuring reproductive freedom is for every body.”
SB 65, the California Momnibus Act, takes sweeping measures to support women and pregnant people with low incomes, improve birth outcomes and close racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality and morbidity. Among some of its provisions, SB 65 will expand the powers of California’s Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review Committee, extend Medi-Cal postpartum coverage from just 60 days to 12 months, and require Medi-Cal to cover full-spectrum doula care. Yesterday, the bill passed out of the Assembly Health Committee and is now expected to be heard in the Assembly Human Services Committee.
SB 245, the Abortion Accessibility Act, requires California-licensed health plans and insurers to cover abortion care without imposing patient cost-sharing (including deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance). By eliminating cost-sharing for abortion, SB 245 would help remove one of the biggest barriers to abortion access—cost. Yesterday, the bill passed out of the Assembly Health Committee and now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
SB 523, the Contraceptive Equity Act of 2021, will make contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing gender-inclusive, require coverage of over-the-counter birth control options, expand contraceptive coverage benefits to millions of Californians, and prohibit employers from discriminating against their employees based on their contraceptive and reproductive health decisions. Yesterday, the bill passed out of the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee and is now expected to be heard in the Assembly Health Committee.
Despite the progress already made in California, disparities in reproductive healthcare access and outcomes persist among Black, Indigenous, and people of color. The COVID-19 public health emergency has further highlighted the structural inequities that disproportionately affect youth, people with low incomes, LGBTQ people, and communities of color when accessing reproductive healthcare. Significant access barriers persist in California, which still has work to do to meet the aspiration of being a Reproductive Freedom State.
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.