California: State Reaffirms Right to Contraceptive Care
The Californer/10271122

SACRAMENTO ~ California Takes Action to Ensure Access to Contraception for Minors and All Residents

In the midst of mounting attacks on reproductive health care across the country, California is taking a stand to protect the rights of its residents. Governor Gavin Newsom and other state leaders are reminding pharmacies, major pharmaceutical companies, health plans, and Californians that contraception is available to minors, in 12-month supplies, and for non-prescription emergency use.

The recent report by the UCLA School of Law Center for Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy revealed that a significant number of California pharmacies were either requiring parental consent or completely withholding emergency contraception from minors – a clear violation of California law. In fact, only 50% of community pharmacies surveyed that offer over-the-counter emergency contraception indicated that minors were allowed to purchase it. Another report by the same Center recommended raising awareness among pharmacists about hormonal contraception options.

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Attorney General Rob Bonta emphasized the importance of protecting the fundamental rights of all Californians in the face of unprecedented attacks on reproductive freedom nationwide. He stated that California remains committed to being a safe haven for individuals seeking reproductive health care services and medication.

To further reinforce this commitment, California has issued several reminders and alerts to ensure access to contraception for all residents. These include an alert to all Board of Pharmacy licensees about their obligations under state law, an All-Plan Letter reminding commercial health plans regulated by DMHC (Department of Managed Health Care) about their legal obligation to cover over-the-counter FDA-approved contraceptives with no cost-sharing to members, a letter to major pharmacy chains reminding them that emergency contraception does not require a prescription or parental consent, a consumer alert informing minors about their ability to access emergency contraception without prescription or parental consent, and an alert to all California pharmacies reminding them of their obligation under state law to provide minors with access to emergency contraception.

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Board of Pharmacy President Seung Oh highlighted the important role pharmacies play in ensuring access to contraception for all Californians, including minors. He stated that pharmacies are lifelines to the health and well-being of the community.

DMHC Director Mary Watanabe also emphasized the importance of providing equitable access to reproductive health care by removing barriers such as cost. She stated that health plans regulated by DMHC must cover over-the-counter contraceptives approved by the FDA at no additional cost to members.

This recent statewide effort is part of California's ongoing commitment to expand access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care. As a leading member of the Reproductive Freedom Alliance, Governor Newsom has also urged U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to take additional steps to ensure that all forms of contraception are affordable and accessible.

Residents can learn more about California's nation-leading efforts to protect and expand reproductive health care, as well as resources available for accessing abortion care, regardless of where they live, at Abortion.CA.Gov. With these actions, California continues to lead the way in protecting and promoting reproductive rights for all its residents.

Filed Under: Government, State

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