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 for Californians earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Family PACT covers contraceptive care and sexually transmitted disease (STD) 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.
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 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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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).
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 STDs.
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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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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 STDs, 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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