Calif. gov. signs two reproductive-rights bills into law

September 27, 2016 — California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Friday signed two measures advancing reproductive health, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.

Legislation boosting contraceptive coverage

One of the two bills (SB 999) removes a cap that limited pharmacists in the state from providing women with more than three months' worth of contraception at one time (Siders, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 9/23).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2013 recommended that women who use contraception receive up to a 12-month supply of contraception per provider visit. The agency noted policies that cap contraceptive supplies can force women to discontinue birth control before they want to and increase the rate of unintended pregnancy. In addition to California, Washington, D.C. and at least five states have passed legislation that requires insurers to cover longer-term supplies of contraception.

Under the California law, health insurers would be required to cover up to 12 months' worth of contraception at a time. The law covers hormonal contraception, including oral contraception, the ring and the patch. It also includes plans managed through Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/16).

Legislation facilitating access to reproductive health care

Jerry also signed a bill (AB 1954) that bars insurers and health care coverage plans from mandating that members obtain a referral before they access reproductive or sexual health care services ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 9/23).