The Women’s Community Clinic, as a member of the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (CCRF), spent the week of March 25 to 29 participating in Reproductive Freedom Week. We met with staff at the offices of Senator Leland Yee, Senator Mark Leno, and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano. And we met directly with Assemblymember Marc Levine and Assemblymember Rob Bonta. We asked them to support the following two bills:
AB 154 -Improving Access to Early Abortion
This bill will address the current shortage of health care professionals able to provide early abortion care in California. It will authorize trained Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, and Physician Assistants to provide comprehensive first trimester abortion care, which is within the scope of the licenses. We support this bill because all women deserve access to care in their local communities, but currently 52% of California counties lack an abortion provider. Authorizing trained health professionals to provide early abortions is safe and improves care. A comprehensive 5-year study by UCSF, published in the American Journal of Public Health, demonstrated that abortions provided by these advanced practice clinicians are just as safe as those performed by physicians.
SB 138 -The Confidential Health Information Act
This bill seeks to protect the personal and sensitive health information of individuals covered by another person’s health insurance. Starting in January 2014, millions of Californians will be moving into private insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Currently, children can stay on their parent’s insurance until the age of 26. This bill will build on current confidentiality protections and close loopholes that can lead to the disclosure of personal and sensitive health information in the form of Explanation of Benefits (EOB) letters and other communications health plans send to policy holders. Without a guarantee of confidentiality, people may choose not to seek care for sensitive services such as STIs, birth control, drug treatment and mental health service for fear that a parent or partner will find out. Domestic violence survivors may choose not to seek care, knowing an abusive partner may have access to this information.