Policy + Advocacy
Essential Access Health advocates to protect and expand access to quality sexual and reproductive health care for all. We believe that everyone should be able to get the essential services they need – with dignity and respect - regardless of where they live, who they love, where they are from, or their socio-economic, citizenship or health insurance status.
2021 Public Policy Priorities
Restore + Strengthen Title X
As the leader of the largest Title X provider network in the country, Essential Access Health’s top priority is to restore the Title X federal family planning program’s mandate to provide comprehensive family planning services for all. Every day the regulations remain in place, the federal government is dictating a lower standard of care for low-income patients – disproportionately impacting rural regions and communities of color. Take Action to urge the Biden-Harris administration to #FixTitleX without delay.
Expand + Protect Access to Comprehensive Family Planning Services
The COVID-19 public health emergency has exacerbated the structural inequities that disproportionately affect access to birth control for low-income people and communities of color. A recent report by the Guttmacher Institute revealed that 38 percent of Black women and 45 percent of Latinas, compared to 29 percent of white women, face difficulties obtaining birth control as a result of the pandemic.
Essential Access is proud to co-sponsor Senate Bill (SB) 523 - the Contraceptive Equity Act of 2021 – with our partners at NARAL Pro-Choice California and the National Health Law Program. Authored by Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), SB 523 seeks to expand and modernize California’s birth control laws and benefits to ensure greater contraceptive equity statewide, regardless of an individual’s gender, income, insurance coverage status, or employer.
At the federal level, Essential Access will advocate to close gaps in contraceptive coverage and participate in efforts to remove barriers to abortion care including repealing the Hyde amendment and removing onerous restrictions on the delivery of medication abortion treatment.
Address Rising STD Rates
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 individuals has an STD nationwide. To address the STD crisis in California, Essential Access is a lead co-sponsor of SB 306 (Pan) – The STD Coverage + Care Act, with APLA, the Black Women for Wellness Action Project, Fresno Barrios Unidos, LA LGBT Center, and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. SB 306 is a comprehensive approach to STD prevention that will improve health outcomes and create a more equitable health system. Essential Access also strongly supports the Sexually Transmitted Infection National Strategic Plan released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services in 2020, and will advocate for federal resources to be allocated to implement the plan.
Ensure Access to Sexual + Reproductive Health Care through Telehealth
The COVID-19 public health crisis has fast-tracked significant transformations in our health care delivery system, including a necessary shift toward providing time-sensitive services through telehealth. State policies have been temporarily implemented to support access to sexual and reproductive health services via telehealth during the declared state of emergency, including allowing coverage of telephonic care and remote enrollment for Family PACT. Essential Access is co-sponsoring AB 32 (Aguiar-Curry) – Telehealth Services to protect and expand access to essential health services through a broad range of telehealth modalities during the public health emergency and beyond. Essential Access will also support the advancement of legislation designed to address the digital divide and promote greater health equity for all.
California Voters Overwhelmingly Support Access to Birth Control
Access to affordable birth control is a California value and not up for debate. Nine in 10 California voters believe it is important for all people to have access to the type of birth control that works best for them. Read the results of our statewide poll.
Join us to protect and expand access to essential health services in California and beyond.