Policy + Advocacy

Essential Access Health advocates to protect and expand access to equitable and high 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 Victories

In 2021, our core concern was to reverse and repeal the harmful Trump-era regulations for the Title X federal family planning program. On November 8, new rules released by the Biden Administration took effect. The new Title X rules return the program to the regulations promulgated in 2000, with important updates to strengthen and build on Title X’s mandate to ensure access to equitable, affordable, quality family planning services for low-income patients across the country. The Biden Administration also temporarily halted onerous restrictions on the distribution of medication abortion treatment to reduce barriers to access during the public health emergency.

In California, Governor Newsom signed our sponsored legislation SB 306 – STI Testing + Treatment. SB 306 will expand access to STI testing and treatment at home and in the community, increase access to treatment for patients and their partners, and enhance congenital syphilis screening and testing. The measure takes effect on January 2, 2022. Learn more about other advancements made during the 2021 legislative session.

2022 Core Priorities

Our 2022 policy priorities seek to expand access to sexual and reproductive health care and promote health equity in our current political environment, and as our public health and health care delivery systems continue to evolve. The priorities reflect our commitment to continuing to lead efforts to reduce barriers to essential health care and information for all, with a focus on supporting the sexual and reproductive health and well-being of communities who have historically been disenfranchised and marginalized.

Strengthen the Title X Federal Family Planning Program

Essential Access is committed to strengthening and protecting the Title X program from future attacks. Over the next year we will work to rebuild a robust network of qualified family planning providers to ensure access to equitable, affordable, client-centered, inclusive, and high quality family planning services across the country.

Expand + Protect Access to Abortion Care

Essential Access is a proud member of the California Future of Abortion (FAB) Council Steering Committee. The Council convened more than 40 reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations, along with legal experts, policymakers, academics, health care providers, and researchers to identify existing barriers to abortion care and develop innovative solutions to expand access to equitable and affordable abortion care for anyone seeking services in California. The Council released a final report outlining 45 policy recommendations to advance in partnership with state leaders in 2022, as the U.S. Supreme Court appears positioned to undermine Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to bodily autonomy of millions.

Ensure Equitable Access to Birth Control

During the 2021 State legislative session, Essential Access sponsored SB 523 - the Contraceptive Equity Act. The measure aims 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. The measure cleared the Senate and was converted into a two-year bill while in the Assembly Appropriation Committee. Essential Access is committed to advancing the bill in the 2022 legislative session and continuing to ensure equitable access to quality family planning care and related services for all Californians.

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.

Address the Ongoing STI Public Health Crisis

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 individuals nationwide has a sexually transmitted infection. To address the STI crisis in California, Essential Access will work to reduce barriers and expand access to STI prevention and treatment for all Californians among youth, communities of color, and gay and bisexual men and transwomen who face disproportionately STI rates as a result of stigma and structural and systemic barriers to care.

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