Policy + Advocacy

California State Policy

California has a long history of enacting progressive and pro-active sexual and reproductive health policies to help Californians achieve their reproductive health goals and experience optimal health outcomes. Recent legislative successes include measures and administrative changes that expand access to family planning and preventive services, reduce barriers to sexual and reproductive health care, improve timely access to essential services, and protect sensitive health information.

California also provides free family planning and related services to low-income patients through Medi-Cal and the Family PACT program.

Medi-Cal covers comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care (including abortion services) for Californians earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) and up to 322% of FPL for people already pregnant and those in need of post-pregnancy care. Family PACT covers contraceptive care and sexually transmitted infection (STI) services for uninsured patients earning up to 200% of FPL and those who have health care coverage but cannot access services because of confidentiality barriers.

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SB 245 (Gonzalez) - Abortion Accessibility Act
SB 245 removes cost-barriers to abortion by requiring all state-licensed health care service plans to cover abortion services without a co-payment, deductible, or any type of cost-sharing.

AB 1666 (Bauer-Kahan) - Abortion Civil Actions
AB 1666 protects those in California from civil liability for providing, aiding, or receiving abortion care.

SCA 10 (Atkins & Rendon) - Proposition 1
Proposition 1 enshrines the fundamental constitutional right to abortion and contraceptives.

AB 657 (Cooper) - Expedited Licensure Process
AB 657 expedites licensure for providers and clinicians committed to provide abortion care in California.

AB 1242 (Bauer-Kahan) - Protect Digital Information
AB 1242 protects Californians from third-party enforcement of abortion restrictions at the local level.

AB 1918 (Petrie-Norris) - California Reproductive Health Service Corps
AB 1918 creates the California Reproductive Health Service Corps, responsible for recruiting, training, and retaining a diverse workforce of health care professionals who will provide reproductive health services, including abortion, in underserved areas of California.

AB 2091 (Bonta) - Enhance Privacy Protections for Medical Records
AB 2091 enhances privacy protections for medical records related to abortion care under California’s Reproductive Privacy Act against disclosures to law enforcement and out-of-state third parties seeking to enforce hostile abortion bans in other states.

AB 2134 (Weber) - California Reproductive Health Equity Program
Co-sponsored by Essential Access Health, AB 2134 establishes the California Reproductive Health Equity Program, which will provide grants to providers who provided uncompensated care to patients with low incomes and those who face other financial barriers to accessing abortion and contraception.

AB 2205 (Carrillo) - California Health Benefit Exchange
AB 2205 requires the qualified health plans under Covered California to report annually to the Department of Insurance and Department of Managed Health Care the total amounts of funds collected in the segregated accounts (established under the Affordable Care Act to hold premium payment of $1 per member per month and from which claims for abortions must be paid) to better understand how much money is currently in those accounts and how much is being used each year to pay claims.

AB 2223 (Wicks) - Protections for Pregnancy Outcomes
AB 2223 ensures that no one in California will be investigated, prosecuted, or incarcerated for ending a pregnancy or experiencing pregnancy loss.

AB 2626 (Calderon) - Protections for Abortion Providers
AB 2626 protects abortion providers in California by prohibiting the removal or suspension of medical licenses for a licensee providing abortion care in California who is complying with California law.

SB 1142 (Caballero & Skinner) - Abortion Information Webpage
SB 1142 creates an “Abortion Information Webpage” managed by the California Department of Public Health with comprehensive information regarding accessing abortion services in California. The webpage will provide patients one point of entry to connect with the nearest and most accessible abortion provider, obtain coverage or financial support for care, and get logistical assistance and resources for travel, lodging, or other needs.

SB 1245 (Kamlager) - Los Angeles County Reproductive Safe Haven Pilot Program
SB 1245 establishes the Los Angeles County Reproductive Safe Haven Pilot Program to support innovative approaches and patient-centered collaborations to safeguard patient access to abortions, regardless of residency.

SB 1375 (Atkins) - Reproductive Health Care Workforce
SB 1375 allows nurse practitioners that meet specified criteria and training requirements to provide first trimester abortion independently.

SB 24 (Leyva) - College Student Right to Access Act
SB 24 ensures that college and university students in California have access to medication abortion.

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Birth Control Access / Family Planning

The United States Supreme Court’s 1965 landmark decision in Griswold v. Connecticut ended the ban on the use of contraceptives by married couples on privacy grounds. The Supreme Court extended the right to possess contraception to unmarried couples in 1972 in Eisenstadt v. Baird. California continues to build on these important court decisions to expand and ensure equal access to birth control for all Californians.

SB 523 (Leyva) - Contraceptive Equity Act
Co-sponsored by Essential Access Health, SB 523 requires coverage of over-the-counter birth control options and vasectomy services without cost-sharing, expands contraceptive coverage benefits to state employees and individuals enrolled in university or college health plans, and clearly prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees based on their contraceptive and reproductive health decisions.

AB 2320 (Garcia) - Reproductive Health Care Pilot Program
AB 2320 establishes and administers a pilot program to direct funds to community health clinics that provide reproductive health care services in five counties and requires a participating health clinic to undertake specified activities to improve health care delivery for marginalized patients.

AB 2586 (Garcia & Rivas) - Reproductive Justice and Freedom Fund
AB 2586 establishes the California Reproductive Justice and Freedom Fund to support community-based organizations to provide medically accurate, culturally congruent, comprehensive reproductive and sexual health education, inclusive of abortion, to disproportionately impacted communities.

SB 999 (Pavley) – Annual Supply of Contraceptives
Co-sponsored by Essential Access Health, SB 999 requires Medi-Cal managed care and commercial health plans to cover the dispensing of a 12-month supply of prescribed, FDA-approved self-administered contraceptives, such as the ring, patch and oral contraceptives. If you have been denied birth control by your health plan, then Essential Access Health would like to know. Visit our web page to submit a confidential description of what happened.

SB 1053 (Mitchell) - Contraceptive Coverage Equity Act
Sponsored by Essential Access Health, SB 1053 requires most health plans to cover FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices and products, as well as related counseling and follow-up services and voluntary sterilization procedures. The measure prohibits cost-sharing, restrictions or delays in the provision of covered services.

SB 493 (Hernandez) - Pharmacy Practice
SB 493 expands the functions pharmacists are authorized to perform, including the ability to furnish self-administered hormonal contraceptives.

AB 2348 (Mitchell) - Timely Access to Birth Control
Co-sponsored by Essential Access Health, AB 2348 increases timely access to birth control by allowing registered nurses (RNs) to dispense hormonal contraceptives under a standardized procedure.

SB 743 (Hernandez) – Freedom of Choice in Family Planning
Sponsored by Essential Access Health, SB 743 codifies the federal freedom of choice in family planning provider provision into California statute to ensure that Medi-Cal enrollees do not lose access to their preferred family planning provider.

AB 1954 (Burke) – Direct Access to Reproductive Health Act
Sponsored by Essential Access Health, AB 1954 prohibits commercial health insurance plans from requiring a referral prior to an enrollee accessing time-sensitive sexual and reproductive health care.

SB 1301 (Kuehl) – Reproductive Privacy Act
SB 1301 protects Californians’ constitutional right to choose to bear a child or not, including the right to choose or refuse birth control.

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Confidential Services

SB 138 (Hernandez) – Confidential Health Information Act
Sponsored by Essential Access Health, SB 138 allows patients covered under another person’s health plan to submit a Confidential Communications Request (CCR) to have information sent directly to the patient instead of the policy holder. Visit www.myhealthmyinfo.org to learn more and submit a CCR to your health plan.

Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (CMIA)
Under California law, CMIA establishes protocols and procedures for the protection of confidential health records. Specifically, the law prohibits the sharing, selling, distribution or otherwise unlawful use of medical information.

California Health and Safety Code Section 123110, 123115
Under California law, health care providers cannot inform a parent or legal guardian regarding medical services related to the prevention or treatment of pregnancy and STIs, the receipt of birth control and abortion services without the minor’s consent. Providers must obtain signed authorization from the minor in order to share the minor’s medical information.

California Education Code Section 48205
Under California law, minors have the right to leave during a school day to seek confidential medical services. A 1983 Attorney General’s opinion, later reaffirmed in 2004, prohibits school districts from implementing parental notification policies for students leaving campus for confidential medical services.

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STI Prevention

SB 306 (Pan) - STI Testing + Treatment
Co-sponsored by Essential Access Health, SB 306 expands access to STI testing remotely at home and in the community, increases access to STI treatment for patients and their partners, and updates state law to boost congenital syphilis screening.

AB 499 (Atkins) – Minors Consent to Medical Care
AB 499 allows minors 12 years of age or older to consent to medical care related to the prevention of a sexually transmitted disease such as the HPV vaccine.

SB 648 (Ortiz) – Venereal Disease (STD): Chlamydia: Treatment of Partner
AB 648 revises the definition of “venereal disease” in the Health and Safety code to include chlamydia. The measure also authorized certain health providers who diagnose a sexually transmitted chlamydia infection in an individual patient to prescribe, dispense, and/or furnish prescription antibiotic drugs to that patient’s partner(s) without examination of that patient’s partner(s). This practice is referred to at Patient Delivered Partner Therapy (PDPT).

AB 2280 (Leno) – Sexually Transmitted Diseases
AB 2280 extends provisions in SB 648 to cover gonorrhea or other sexually transmitted diseases for sex partners of patients diagnosed with any such disease or infection.

California Family Code Section 6926
Under California law, minors 12 years of age and older may consent to the medical care related to the diagnosis and treatment of STIs.

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Sexual Health Education

In 1992, California began requiring public schools to teach HIV/AIDs prevention education. Though sexual health education was not mandatory, the California Education Code required that certain standards be met if public schools elected to teach sexual health education. The California State Legislature updated the decades-old curriculum requirement and established new sex education requirements in 2015.

AB 2601 (Weber) - California Healthy Youth Act & Charter Schools
AB 2601 expanded the California Healthy Youth Act of 2015 to require charter schools to provide comprehensive sex education.

AB 329 (Weber) - California Healthy Youth Act
AB 329 requires California public schools comprehensive sexual health education mandatory in California’s public schools. The new language also called for sex education curricula to be updated to include adolescent relationship abuse and sex trafficking, LGBTQ issues, and consent.

SB 71 (Kuehl) - Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Act
SB 71 requires that all sexual health education conducted in California public schools be comprehensive, age-appropriate, medically accurate, and objective. It also requires that materials include information on all FDA-approved methods for preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

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AB 32 (Aguiar-Curry) - Telehealth Services
Co-sponsored by Essential Access Health, AB 32 seeks to make current, more flexible rules for the use and reimbursement of telehealth services permanent under state law and ensures telehealth can continue, increasing access to health care services for all Californians, including the state’s most vulnerable families and Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

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