Weber introduced AB 2134, The California Abortion and Reproductive Equity (CARE) Act, establishing the Reproductive Health Equity Program (“program”), which will provide grants to providers who offer abortion and contraception health care, at a reduced cost or free to the patient. This program is specifically available to cover funding for health providers who offer care to individuals who do not have means to pay for care, including those who are traveling from other states. Forty million dollars was allocated was allocated in the final budget for these services, specifically to establish and administer an uncompensated care fund for abortion services for individuals below 400% of the federal poverty line
East County News Service
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September 28, 2022 (Sacramento) -- Governor Newsom has signed the California Women’s Caucus priority package of bills aimed at expanding and protecting reproductive healthcare in California. Included in the package is Assembly Bill (AB) 2134 by Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D. which will provide funding to reimburse providers serving the uninsured and underinsured. The actions come in the wake of the supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade and multiple states imposing bans or severe restrictions on abortion access, with some states weighing bans on birth control access as well.
AB 2134 also require the Department of Industrial Relations, beginning January 1, 2023, to post on its website information regarding abortion and contraception benefits that may be available through the program to employees whose employer-sponsored health coverage does not include coverage for both abortion and contraception.
“I applaud Governor Newsom for signing the CARE Act and allocating funding to remove cost as a barrier to abortion and contraceptive care in the State of California and affirm our commitment to reproductive rights,” said Assemblymember Dr. Akilah Weber. “As a practicing OBGYN, I’m too familiar with the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy and the disproportionate affect the overturning of Roe v. Wade will have on low income and women of color. I’m proud of my legislative colleagues and sponsors for supporting this bill.”
She added, “The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade turned back the clock on women. Reproductive care is health care and millions of women will be harmed by this decision. We know that abortions will not stop but safe abortions will be unavailable in numerous states, putting women’s lives at risk. California will be a safe haven for reproductive health care.”
East County’s Republican legislators, Assemblyman Randy Voepel and Senator Brian Jones, voted against the bill, which was supported by state and national reproductive rights advocates.
Below are statements from cosponsors of the measure:
NARAL Pro-Choice California Director Shannon Olivieri Hovis:
“The CARE (California Abortion and Reproductive Equity) Act deepens California’s commitment to being a Reproductive Freedom State and affirms our state's national leadership in safeguarding and advancing reproductive freedom. This bill is essential for ensuring that all people in California—including those who may travel from out of state—can access abortion care regardless of their income, insurance coverage, zip code, or how much money is in their bank account. Thank you to Governor Newsom for signing this bill, and to Dr. Weber for her tireless leadership and efforts to ensure all people in California have equitable and timely access to the care they need.”
Jodi Hicks, CEO /President Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California
“Planned Parenthood health centers are committed to providing care to any patient who walks through the doors. To ensure cost is not a barrier to care for anyone accessing abortion or any other reproductive health care in California, Planned Parenthood is proud to co-sponsor the ‘CARE Act,’ or AB 2134, that will provide support to providers who offer these essential services without cost to patients. This is a major step in California continuing to live up to its role as a beacon of hope and a Reproductive Freedom state.”
Jessica Pinckney, Executive Director, ACCESS REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE
"Financial barriers to paying for an abortion impact all of ACCESS REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE's callers. We are grateful that Assemblymember Weber has introduced the CARE Act, which will work to ensure that uninsured, underinsured, and low income individuals can access the full range of reproductive health care, including abortion, in California. Reproductive health care is a human right that we all deserve to be able to fully access. With the CARE Act, we come one step closer to that truly being possible."
The National Health Law Program (NHeLP)
“The National Health Law Program (NHeLP) is delighted to be a sponsor of the CARE Act. We are thankful that our state legislators have stepped up to protect the broad range of reproductive health services for anyone who steps foot in California. With the introduction of this bill, California is cementing its position as a haven for abortion access and does so unequivocally and proudly. Abortion is health care and it is a right. As an organization that works on Medicaid and insurance coverage for those with limited means, NHeLP knows too well that a right is only fulfilled when it is affordable and accessible. The fundamental right to make decisions about our bodies, lives, and futures is essential to the pursuit of health equity and racial, reproductive, and economic justice. The CARE Act fulfills this promise.”
Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D. represents California's 79th Assembly District, which includes parts of Southeast San Diego, Bonita, Chula Vista, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and National City.
Website of Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D: https://a79.asmdc.org