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Bill to Expand Access to Contraceptives Passes First Policy Committee

AB 90 will help reduce unintended pregnancies

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – Yesterday, legislation to increase access to contraception passed the California State Assembly Health Committee on a unanimous, bi-partisan vote. Assembly Bill 90, authored by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine), will expand coverage and reimbursement policies for immediate postpartum long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) which help reduce unintended and short interval pregnancies. Under AB 90, patients covered by California’s Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment (FPACT) program will be eligible to receive a contraceptive device immediately following their pregnancy or abortion, during that same inpatient visit. This reduces barriers to access, including the need for an additional visit and potential loss of insurance coverage.

This measure intends to address the health disparities that many women from underserved and marginalized communities face. "Even in California we still see people who can't get the birth control they want when they need it because they lack coverage,” said Dr. Juliana Melo, University of California Davis Associate Clinical Professor. “This bill closes a crucial gap for those who are already accessing time-sensitive services in a hospital setting, minimizing delays in care and allowing patients access to the birth control method that is right for them."

“It is important that we continue to defend women’s reproductive rights and support their choices, especially when they are most vulnerable after giving birth or after an abortion procedure,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine). “Rights are meaningless if they are obstructed by red tape. Women shouldn’t be worried about timing their birth control options, we should enable them to make the best decision for them and their family.”

Currently, under FPACT coverage restrictions, low-income patients covered by FPACT for immediate postpartum and/or gynecological care, including abortions, may not be eligible for LARCs at the same time as they receive such care with their provider in an inpatient setting. Many individuals, including those at highest risk of short interpregnancy intervals, have low postpartum visit follow-up rates. Approximately 10–40% of individuals do not attend the postpartum visit, and 40–75% of individuals who say they plan to use an IUD postpartum do not obtain it.

AB 90 is supported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists District IX (sponsor), Access Reproductive Justice, Planned Parenthood California, and the National Health Law Program.

This bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee where it will be considered for a vote later this spring.