The results of the Presidential Election may bring renewed attacks on a person’s access to abortion and reproductive healthcare in this country.
But one thing is certain – we will never back down, and we will never stop fighting to protect the access to care that so many people across this country depend on. In fact, the majority of Americans, including those who supported President-elect Trump, support access to health care at Planned Parenthood and want abortion to stay legal and safe. Californians can also rest assured that California continues to lead in ensuring access to reproductive healthcare for all. This year alone, 41 priority bills were signed by Governor Jerry Brown that will increase access to vital healthcare, help hardworking women and families, and increase protections for victims of human trafficking and foster care youth.
The 41 Planned Parenthood-priority bills signed into law include key progressive legislation that will remove hurdles to accessing reproductive healthcare and a law that will establish the Desert Health Care District, which will be instrumental in helping address health disparities in the Coachella Valley. Thanks to the passage of SB 999, health insurance policies will now be required to cover a 12-month supply of birth control upfront, saving millions of women monthly visits to the pharmacy, and giving them the opportunity to make their own decisions about whether and when to have a family.
Another priority bill that was signed by Governor Brown is AB 1671, which protects the privacy and safety of health care providers by making it a crime to distribute illegally taped private conversations of health professionals by those who participated in the illegal activity. This bill was introduced after anti-abortion extremists illegally taped inside Planned Parenthood health centers last summer and maliciously edited their videos to falsely claim that Planned Parenthood was involved in illegal activities. Due to those malicious recordings, Planned Parenthood health centers and medical providers saw a 900% increase in threats and violence. AB 1671 sends a clear message to anti-abortion extremists that they will be held accountable for their actions and that harassment of health care providers and staff will not be tolerated.
Additionally, several priority bills aimed to uplift working families and help address wealth disparities across the state. This year a state budget priority repealed the harmful Maximum Family Grant rule for CalWORKs recipients. For decades, children growing up in low-income families were penalized by the Maximum Family Grant law, which denied financial support for babies born to families already receiving CalWORKs, thus pushing those families further into poverty and infringing on the reproductive privacy and rights of low-income families. This year California also became one of the first states in the nation to raise its statewide minimum wage to the livable wage of $15 an hour. These vital new laws will undoubtedly have a positive impact in many people’s lives who are struggling to support their families.
Passing these laws was possible thanks to our incredible supporters, allies, and partners, who advocated and garnered support for these critically needed changes across the state by visiting legislators, writing letters, sending emails, sharing their patient stories, and showing their support for many of our priority bills on social media. We are grateful to our local, state, and federal champions who work to uplift women and families and expand access to healthcare for all Californians. Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years and we will never stop providing the care our patients need. These doors stay open.
-Sandra @ Planned Parenthood