Contraceptive Equity Act Clears Assembly Health Committee

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Amy Moy / 415.518.4465

Joint Statement from SB 523 co-sponsors Essential Access Health, NARAL Pro-Choice California, and National Health Law Program

California – The Contraceptive Equity Act of 2021 advanced out of the Assembly Health Committee today in an 11-2 vote. The bill now advances to the Assembly Appropriations Committee – its last stop before the Assembly Floor. SB 523, authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) and co-sponsored by Essential Access Health, NARAL Pro-Choice California, and the National Health Law Program, seeks to update California’s contraceptive coverage laws. If enacted, the measure will make contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing gender-inclusive, require coverage of over-the-counter birth control options and vasectomy services without cost-sharing, expand contraceptive coverage benefits to millions of Californians including state employees and individuals enrolled in university or college health plans. The bill also seeks to clearly prohibit employers from discriminating against their employees based on their contraceptive and reproductive health decisions.

In response to the bill’s advancement, bill co-sponsors Essential Access Health, NARAL Pro-Choice California, and the National Health Law Program released the following joint statement:

“Today’s vote takes us one step closer to ensuring that all Californians can get the birth control they want, when they need it. Birth control is essential health care. All Californians, regardless of their income level; gender identity; health insurance plan; or where they live, work, or go to school need and deserve equitable access to contraception by law – without any unnecessary delays or discrimination. We thank the members of the Assembly Health Committee who voted in favor of this important bill and are proud to partner with Senator Leyva to advance SB 523 to expand and modernize our state’s contraceptive benefits to make birth control more accessible and affordable for millions across California. After four years of attacks on reproductive health care, it’s time to return on a path of progress.”

Bill Author, Senator Connie M. Leyva said:

“For decades, California has been a pioneer in enacting legislation that protects and increases access to birth control, but current law leaves too many individuals and communities without equitable access. SB 523 will build on existing measures to help ensure our contraceptive benefits and policies extend to millions more across the state,” Senator Leyva said. “It is vitally important that we improve health outcomes for all Californians, as well as ensure that they are able to access these important reproductive health care services when and where they need that care.”