Leyva Bill Expanding Contraceptive Equity Passes Senate Labor Committee

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Amy Moy / 415.518.4465 / amoy@essentialaccess.org

Statement from SB 523 Co-Sponsors on the need to expand access to birth control statewide

Essential Access Health
NARAL Pro-Choice California
National Health Law Program

“Birth control is essential health care. After four years of attacks on reproductive health during the Trump administration, California has the opportunity and responsibility to proactively reduce barriers to contraceptive care.

“All Californians should be able to choose the birth control that works best for them, regardless of their income level, gender identity, health insurance plan, or where they live or work.”

“We applaud Senator Leyva for being a true champion for reproductive freedom. We look forward to partnering with her to advance SB 523 and expand contraceptive access and equity to millions of California workers and communities this session.

“A person’s ability to control when or whether to become pregnant is critical to individual and community health, equity, and economic security. We are proud to co-sponsor SB 523 to level the playing field on behalf of Californians of all backgrounds, and ensure that everyone can get the birth control method they want, when they need it.”

Quote from SB 523 Author, Senator Connie M. Leyva “SB 523 will help ensure equitable access to contraception, as well as solidify California’s rightful place as a national leader in reproductive freedom,” Senator Leyva said.  “Californians deserve to be able to decide—for themselves—if and when they have children. Even after four years of attacks on reproductive health care by the federal government, California remains strong in its commitment to reducing barriers to contraceptive care and creating greater health equity. I am proud to stand with this determined coalition of contraceptive equity leaders that remain committed to bringing this critical bill across the finish line.”


In 2014, SB 1053 (Mitchell) — which required Medi-Cal managed care and most commercial health plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods without co-pays, cost-sharing, or restrictions like step-therapy or prior authorization — was signed into law.  Since enacted, several states have expanded access to birth control even further by requiring health plans to cover over-the-counter birth control pills, condoms and vasectomies and other male birth control methods on the horizon.  Additionally, in 2016, SB 999 (Pavley) was chaptered, ensuring that most health insurance plans in California cover a year’s supply of birth control dispensed at once.

Despite the progress made in California, health disparities in reproductive health outcomes persist among Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), including disproportionate unintended pregnancy, infant and maternal mortality, and STD rates. The COVID-19 public health emergency has also further highlighted the structural inequities that disproportionately affect youth, low-income people and communities of color in accessing birth control services. A report by the Guttmacher Institute revealed that 38 percent of Black women and 45 percent of Latinas, compared to 29 percent of white women, now face difficulties accessing birth control as a result of the pandemic. Lower-income women were also more likely than higher-income women to report having experienced delays or having been unable to get contraceptive care because of the pandemic (36 percent vs. 31 percent).

Access to contraception is widely supported in California. According to polling conducted by Lake Research Partners in 2018, nine in 10 likely voters in California believe that access to birth control is important.