April 18, 2023
Two California Medical Association (CMA) priority bills protecting access to reproductive and gender-affirming health care services have cleared their first legislative committee hearings.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, lawmakers across the country have sought new ways to restrict patient access and punish physicians who provide abortion or gender-affirming care. Senate Bill 487 and Assembly Bill 571 aim to protect physicians from out-of-state encroachments and ensure that they can continue to provide these vital services.
Senate Bill 487, authored by Senator Toni Atkins, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 28. The bill would protect California health care providers from being automatically suspended from the state’s Medi-Cal program if another state has sanctioned them for providing health care services that are legal in California.
“Senate Bill 487 will protect reproductive health care providers and ensure they can continue to treat the growing number of Californians who rely on Medi-Cal,” said CMA President-Elect Tanya W. Spirtos, M.D. “With out-of-state lawmakers becoming increasingly aggressive about curbing access to abortion, California must be equally aggressive in ensuring they are not able to interfere with our state’s reproductive rights.”
In the Assembly, AB 571 progressed out of the Insurance Committee on April 12. AB 571 prohibits medical liability insurers from discriminating against physicians solely on the basis of providing reproductive health care services or gender-affirming care.
“As lawmakers in other states work to undermine decades of progress in women’s health care, it is critically important that our state provides protections for health care practitioners providing vital reproductive services to women,” said Dr. Spirtos. “By prohibiting insurers from denying liability insurance to health care providers because they provide abortion, contraception or gender-affirming services, AB 571 will help ensure that patients do not face barriers to accessing the care they need.”