State Reaffirms Right to Contraceptive Care


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: California is making sure people know about their right to access contraception, including minors, 12-month supplies, and non-prescription emergency contraception. Pharmacists, major pharmaceutical companies, health plans, and Californians received reminders that current California law requires contraception access – including for minors.

SACRAMENTO – Across the country, attacks are mounting against every form of reproductive health care – from abortion to contraception. Today, California leaders are taking action to remind pharmacies, major pharmaceutical companies, health plans, and Californians that contraception is available to minors, in 12-month supplies, and for non-prescription emergency contraception.

“While some states are seeking to ban emergency contraception, California is proud to provide comprehensive protections and expand access to all forms of reproductive health care. We are making sure health care providers are following the law and that Californians know their rights when it comes to contraception and reproductive health care.”

Governor Gavin Newsom

WHY THIS MATTERS: A recent report, authored by the UCLA School of Law Center for Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy, revealed that a significant percentage of California pharmacies either required parental consent or entirely withheld emergency contraception from minors – a clear violation of California’s law. Among the community pharmacies surveyed that offer over-the-counter emergency contraception, only 50% indicated that minors were permitted to purchase the medication. Another report by the same Center recommended raising awareness among pharmacists of hormonal contraception options.

WHAT AG BONTA SAID: “As we continue to face unprecedented attacks to reproductive freedom nationwide, we must double down on our commitment to protect the fundamental rights of all Californians. Together, our statewide efforts emphasize the right given to every young person to access timely emergency contraception without any barriers. At the California Department of Justice, we remain unwavering in our commitment that our state continues to be a safe haven for all individuals seeking reproductive health care services and medication.”

Today’s statewide efforts build on California’s demonstrated commitment to expand access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care.

California issued:

✔️ An alert to all Board of Pharmacy licensees reminding licensees of their obligations under state law. [Alert]

✔️ An All-Plan Letter (APL) reminding commercial health plans regulated by DMHC of their legal obligation to cover over-the-counter FDA-approved contraceptives with no cost-sharing to members. [Letter]

✔️ A letter to the corporate offices of the major pharmacy chains reminding them that emergency contraception does not require a prescription or parental consent. [Letter]

✔️ A consumer alert, informing minors of their ability to access emergency contraception without a prescription or parental consent. [Alert]

✔️ An alert to all California pharmacies reminding them of their obligation under California law to provide minors access to emergency contraception. [Alert]

“Pharmacies are lifelines to the health and well-being of all Californians,” said Board of Pharmacy President Seung Oh. “The launch of today’s education campaign reinforces the important role pharmacies play to ensure all Californians – including minors – have access to contraception.”

“Health plans regulated by the DMHC must provide coverage of over-the-counter contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration at no additional cost to members,” said California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) Director Mary Watanabe. “This expansion of coverage will without a doubt provide more equitable access to reproductive health care by removing barriers such as cost.”

BIGGER PICTURE: Recently, as a leading member of the Reproductive Freedom Alliance, Governor Newsom urged U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to take additional steps to ensure that all forms of contraception are affordable and accessible. Learn more about California’s nation-leading efforts to protect and expand reproductive health care as well as rights and resources available to people accessing abortion care, regardless of where they live, at Abortion.CA.Gov.