Assemblymember Mitchell's bill to Increase Access to Birth Control Passes first Policy Committee

April 30, 2012

AB 2348 will expand access to women seeking reproductive health care

A bill by Assemblymember Holly Mitchell (D-Culver City) that will increase access to birth control for poor and rural women has passed the Assembly Business & Professions committee on a 6-3, party-line vote.

AB 2348 will build on current law by allowing registered nurses (RNs) to dispense hormonal contraceptives in community clinic settings. Currently only physicians and nurse practitioners (NPs) may dispense birth control. Due to lack of available staff, women seeking birth control are routinely turned away from some community clinics in California. Staffing shortages can mean women seeking care wait long periods of time to schedule health center appointments, sit in waiting rooms for hours before being seen, or may drive long distances to see a provider. All of these barriers place women at greater risk of unintended pregnancy and associated consequences.

More has to be done to help women who are seeking help, said Assemblymember Mitchell. It is inexcusable in 2012 that a woman who may want birth control should face barriers that we can remove. She also noted that an estimated 13,000 women a month are being turned away from clinics in the central valley alone because of insufficient staffing.

Women deserve greater access to reproductive health care, not less, said Kathy Kneer, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. At the same time conservatives all across our country are trying to clamp down on access to women's health, Planned Parenthood is working to make sure women can receive the care they need from providers they know and trust in the communities where they live.

AB 2348 is co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood of California and the California Family Health Council, and has broad support from a variety of advocates for reproductive justice.

AB 2348 now moves to the Assembly Rules Committee for further consideration.