The California state legislature is considering a bill to reduce or eliminate the cost of abortion care in the state. The bill would eliminate co-pays and payments towards deductibles for abortions and abortion counseling.
The bill, SB 245, was approved by the Senate and will next be voted on in the Assembly.
“It’s tough to know your reproductive rights may be in question again after it’s been decided for 40 years,” said state Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), author of the bill. “We’re taking a stance, not just to make abortions available but to make them free and equitable.”
Most other state legislatures have proposed anti-abortion legislation this year. According to Guttmacher Institute, 47 legislatures have introduced a total of 559 abortion restriction bills, and 82 have been enacted already.
California is one of six states to require health insurance plans to cover abortion care, and is one of the sixteen states to direct Medicaid funding to abortions.
If passed, this bill would not apply to individuals who have federally-regulated health insurance plans. According to a California Health Benefits Review Program analysis, the bill would impact nearly 10,000 people per year.
The passage of this bill could significantly help low-income individuals who are faced with the difficult choice of either paying for their abortion or paying for other essentials like groceries and rent.
California is among the several states that expanded abortion access in 2021. Hawaii passed a law expanding the category of medical professionals who can provide abortions, Washington is now requiring student health insurance plans that cover maternity care to cover abortions, Virginia repealed a ban on state marketplace insurance palns covering abortions, and New Mexico repealed its law to ban abortion if Roe were ever overturned.
Sources: LA Times 6/7/21; California Legislative Information; Guttmacher Institute 6/1/21; Guttmacher Institute 6/1/21