David Chiu and Autumn Burke, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and Religious Leaders and Healthcare Providers Urge Passage of Reproductive FACT Act

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

(Sacramento, CA) – Alongside women’s healthcare providers and religious leaders, Assemblymembers David Chiu (D – San Francisco) and Autumn R. Burke (D – Inglewood) today urged lawmakers to support AB 775, the Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency (FACT) Act.

The Reproductive FACT Act requires licensed facilities that provide family planning and pregnancy-related services to inform patients about available assistance for affordable contraception, abortion, and prenatal care, including how to obtain that assistance. Facilities that offer similar services but do not have a medical license must disclose that they are not licensed facilities and do not have a licensed provider on staff. This bill is co-sponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris, NARAL Pro-Choice California, and Black Women for Wellness.

“California provides innovative public programs that offer critical reproductive and prenatal health care to women, regardless of ability to pay,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “We know that reproductive and pregnancy-related care is time sensitive. Our legislation ensures that women receive timely and standard care when seeking services in our state, no matter where they go.”

“We’ve long guaranteed a woman’s right to privacy to make her own reproductive choices and have access to a basic level of health care, but that right is an empty promise if she lacks the ability to obtain care and services, or if she doesn’t know about all of the options available,” said Assemblywoman Burke.  “With AB 775, all clinics will be held to the same standard, and all patients will have access to clear, timely information about their health care rights.”

“California has been a national leader in promoting and protecting equal access to the full range of women’s reproductive health care options,” said Attorney General Harris.  “The Reproductive FACT Act will ensure that women are empowered to make informed and timely decisions about their health and their bodies.”

“I find it extremely difficult to understand how people who claim to care about women find it so threatening to inform them about accessing affordable health care,” said Amy Everitt, state director of NARAL Pro-Choice California. “Making sure women have the care they need to lead happy and healthy lives shouldn’t be controversial. We can all agree that women deserve to have all the information in front of them when they make some of the most important decisions they will ever face.”

“The fact of the matter is it's a simple bill, if we trust women to make the best decisions," said Nourbese Flint of Black Women for Wellness. “By ensuring women have access to reproductive health information free from coercion, and informing women of the full range of choices available to live healthy full lives regardless of, race, income or geographic location, we are saying that women are able to make the best decisions about our future. Our livelihoods and our health shouldn't be subject to the biased opinions of strangers who are more concerned about pushing an agenda then my or my community’s health.”

“We in the faith community who support women’s reproductive rights do not see how inaccurate, even dangerous, medical information advances religious liberty,” said Rick Schlosser, with California Church IMPACT.

"Improving access to prenatal care is a public health priority with far-reaching repercussions. Early prenatal care - starting in the first trimester of pregnancy - reduces the risk of poor birth outcomes, and improves the health and wellbeing of the mother,” said Therese McCluskey, MPH, Perinatal Services Coordinator with the Alameda County Public Health Department.

“Early prenatal care can be especially important for low-income women, who may lack ongoing preventive health care before pregnancy. In public health, access is one of our priorities, as we regularly hear about residents who need these services but don’t know about them."

AB 775 also helps address the public health threat posed by anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). NARAL Pro-Choice California conducted a year-long undercover investigation of CPCs, revealing a disturbing pattern of medical misinformation and manipulation of women. The results of the investigation can be found at www.cpclies.com.

Assemblymember David Chiu (D – San Francisco) is the Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore of the California State Assembly and represents the 17th Assembly District, which encompasses the eastern portion of San Francisco.

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