California Governor Signs Law to Make Abortion Services Cheaper

Sacramento, CA–Amid continued attacks on reproductive freedom throughout the country, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed legislation to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for abortion services, ensuring cost is not a barrier to accessing care.

Governor Newsom signs SB 245 alongside First Partner Siebel Newsom (image credit: Governor’s Office)

Governor Newsom signed SB 245, the Abortion Accessibility Act by Senator Lena A. Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), in a virtual ceremony today joined by members of the Legislative Women’s Caucus and representatives from reproductive rights and justice organizations.

“As states across the country attempt to move us backwards by restricting fundamental reproductive rights, California continues to protect and advance reproductive freedom for all,” said Governor Newsom. “With this legislation, we’ll help ensure equitable, affordable access to abortion services so that out-of-pocket costs don’t stand in the way of receiving care.”

“In the face of nationwide attacks on reproductive rights, California has taken action to improve access to reproductive care by removing financial barriers to this essential health care,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “In the Golden State, we value women and recognize all they shoulder in their dual roles as caregivers and breadwinners. California will continue to lead by example and ensure all women and pregnant people have autonomy over their bodies and the ability to control their own destinies.”

SB 245 prohibits health plans and insurers from imposing a co-pay, deductible, or other cost-sharing requirement for abortion and abortion-related services. The legislation also prohibits health plans and insurers from imposing utilization management practices on covered abortion and abortion-related services. California is one of six states that require health insurance plans to cover abortion services, but out-of-pocket costs for patients can exceed a thousand dollars.

In October, Governor Newsom announced the Administration’s participation in the California Future of Abortion Council, to collaborate with advocates, policymakers, providers, patients and others on ways to advance the state’s reproductive freedom leadership. The Council’s recommendations included making abortion care more affordable and accessible by eliminating cost-sharing through the passage and enactment of today’s legislation.

The Governor’s budget proposal, the California Blueprint, includes measures to protect the right to safe and accessible reproductive health care services. The California Blueprint supports California’s clinical infrastructure for reproductive health services by offering scholarships and loan repayments to health care providers that commit to providing reproductive health care services, and support for reproductive health care facility infrastructure, including enhancements to their IT and security systems. It would also increase flexibility for Medi-Cal providers to provide clinically appropriate medication abortion services by removing requirements for in-person follow-up visits and ultrasounds if they are not medically necessary. The Blueprint also includes funds to support Covered California’s One-Dollar Premium Subsidy program, which subsidizes the cost of Covered California health plans due to federal policy concerning abortion coverage.

In his first year in office, Governor Newsom signed a Proclamation on Reproductive Freedom reaffirming California’s commitment to protecting reproductive choices. The Governor has advanced investments to expand access to reproductive and sexual health care and signed multiple bills protecting reproductive freedom, including AB 1356, AB 1184,SB 374SB 24, and AB 1264.

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