Jun 5, 2024

Governor Newsom reaffirms birth control access in California after Senate GOP kills right to contraception bill

What you need to know: Today, Republicans in the U.S. Senate killed the Right to Contraception Act, which would have established federal protection for the use and legal distribution of contraception. On the anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, Governor Newsom reminded Californians of their right to birth control in our state and his long-standing commitment to protect and expand reproductive rights.

SACRAMENTO – On the anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, which protected the right to use contraception, Republicans in the U.S. Senate killed the Right to Contraception Act. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, the so-called “Freedom Party” broke with the majority of Americans and blocked a bill that would have protected access to birth control across the country. 

“Republicans in the U.S. Senate just killed a bill that would have protected access to birth control across the country. After overturning Roe, the so-called ‘Party of Freedom’ has repeatedly blocked efforts to help women access IVF, birth control, and abortion. 

 “While the GOP tries to take us back to a pre-1960s world, California is proud to provide comprehensive protections for contraceptives as well as reproductive health care. We will never stop fighting for you and your right to control your body and your future.”

Governor Gavin Newsom

“It is endlessly infuriating to witness— over half a century after the right to contraception was established in our highest court— GOP legislators attempt to control and restrict women’s bodies and voices. Women and mothers deserve the right to choose and in California we’ll ensure they can.”

First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom

Why this matters

While the GOP tries to take us back to a pre-1960s world, California is proud to provide comprehensive protections for people to access and use contraceptives and reproductive health care services.

Newsom efforts to protect contraception

  • California law protects coverage of contraceptives and timely access to all Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved methods of birth control through state-regulated health plans and health insurance.
  • The Contraceptive Equity Act expanded coverage of contraceptives by a health plan – regardless of gender – by requiring health plans to cover certain over-the-counter birth control without cost sharing without a prescription and prohibits employment-related discrimination based on reproductive health decisions.
  • Under the California Reproductive Health Equity Program, health plans must provide information about abortion or contraception services available at no cost to employees of religious employers that do not cover abortion or contraception services. The program also expands access through grants to providers for uncompensated care to patients with low-incomes and those who face other financial barriers.
  • California is seeking a new Medicaid demonstration project under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act to strengthen the state’s reproductive health provider safety net. If approved, DHCS will provide grants to reproductive health providers for enhancing capacity and access to sexual and reproductive health services and promoting the sustainability of California’s reproductive health provider safety net, for the benefit of individuals enrolled in Medi-Cal and other individuals who currently face barriers to access. The waiver is currently still under federal review.
  • 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.

Right to contraception in California

  • The California Healthcare, Research, and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 allocated revenue from the increased tobacco tax to the Department of Health Care Services to increase funding for health care programs and services, including supplemental payments for Medi-Cal family planning services. 
  • The Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment (Family PACT) program has been administered by the Department of Health Care Services’ (DHCS) Office of Family Planning since 1997 to provide free family planning and reproductive health services to low-income Californians, including contraception. 
  • The Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) administers a grant program to protect physical and digital security infrastructure for facilities and practitioners who provide abortion-related care and reproductive health services.
  • California passed explicit protections for reproductive freedom, including abortion care and contraception, into the state constitution as part of Proposition 1, which received overwhelming support from voters in November 2022. 

Bigger picture

In the less than two years since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Governor Newsom, in partnership with the California Legislature, has built California into a national leader for reproductive freedom and expanded the fight nationwide through the 23-governor Reproductive Freedom Alliance.

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.