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RELEASE: California State Senate Approves Bill to Expand Access to Birth Control - AB 1264 Clarifies Vague Telehealth Law for Patients

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 1264, authored by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach), will increase access to birth control by allowing Californians to be prescribed birth control via a smartphone app with fewer barriers. Today, AB 1264 was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate 35-2 and is now headed to the Assembly for a concurrence vote.

“Birth control allows people to choose if and when to start a family and historically has afforded women more economic freedom,” said Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris. “It is paramount that women have access to the resources necessary to carefully plan a family as they see fit.”

Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino), Chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, presented AB 1264 on the Senate Floor saying, “As a strong advocate for women’s reproductive rights, I firmly support Assemblymember Petrie-Norris’ AB 1264.  It is crucial that we ensure access to birth control is as easy and streamlined as possible. This common sense bill will help to address the unmet needs for birth control by increasing access for women across California.”

AB 1264 expands access to birth control by clarifying vague telehealth law. Today, in order to request birth control by way of telehealth, a patient must answer a health questionnaire, self-report their blood pressure and schedule a video chat before submitting their request for contraceptives. Doctors find that a teleconference visit to access birth control is medically unnecessary. Furthermore, it is estimated that 50% of patients do not fulfill this specification and therefore cannot receive contraception. This bill clarifies the ability for birth control to be prescribed via teleconference without a “visit” or video chat in order to expand access and address the unmet needs for birth control in California.

Sponsoring the bill, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California President Jodi Hicks said, “At a time when access to birth control is under attack on the national level, the California state legislature continues to stand up and show its support for protecting and expanding access to basic and essential reproductive health care needs. We applaud all the Assemblymembers and Senators who have supported this bill and thank Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris for her leadership. This bill will ensure the virtual door remains open for thousands of patients in California who are seeking birth control.”

With unintended pregnancies accounting for nearly half of pregnancies, it is crucial we continue to increase access to birth control. Assembly Bill 1264 reduces barriers to reproductive telehealth services and with this clarity in place, access will be provided for tens of thousands of Californians who are unable to easily access health care services.

AB 1264 is also supported by the California Medical Association and NARAL Pro-Choice California.