Mitchell bill, one of few to expand contraceptive rights, becomes law

September 26, 2014

Governor signs SB 1053 to mandate health plans cover all FDA-approved birth control methods

SACRAMENTO, CA — Governor Brown has signed into law a bill, authored by Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), which assures that every Californian with a health insurance plan may obtain contraception without restrictions, delays or out of pocket costs.

"No woman in California will any longer face the prospect of a health plan second-guessing or over-ruling the medical or family planning needs she and her health care advisor deem best for her," said Senator Mitchell, who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Women and Inequality.  "Now there is a template. Building on the momentum of this achievement in the nation’s most populous state, other states may act to limit the restrictions imposed by the Hobby Lobby decision, protecting a woman’s right to the birth control method of her choice."

SB 1053 – the Contraceptive Coverage Equity Act – builds on current state and federal law to improve access to the full range of FDA-approved methods of birth control. The bill had become rallying legislation for many health care and women’s rights advocates disheartened by recent losses in contraceptive coverage rights at the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court and state politicians.

While hundreds of bills to restrict contraceptive options have been launched across the country, many of which have made progress in other states, SB 1053 sought to turn the tide in favor of women and their reproductive rights.

Co-sponsored by the California Family Health Council and the National Health Law Program, the measure continues California’s trend toward expansion of access to birth control.