Assembly Approves Bill Asserting State’s Position on Accepting Federal Funds Related to Health Care Services for Children, Pregnant Women
The Assembly on Thursday voted to approve a bill (AB 794) indicating that California plans to spend $304 million in federal funds to assist pregnant women -- not just children as stated in the federal guidelines -- and that legislators have "no intention of altering women's reproductive rights," the Sacramento Bee reports. The measure now goes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) for consideration.
According to the federal guidelines, the $304 million is to be used to serve low-income children "under the age of 19 years, including the period from conception to birth." The funds would be used for Medi-Cal services and the Access for Infants and Mothers Program.
The funds could be used for doctors' visits, nutrition counseling, dental care and other prenatal services but not abortions, according to Health and Human Services Agency spokesperson Sabrina Demayo Lockhart.
Supporters of abortion rights want the state to receive the money but not under the federal guidelines, which they say could jeopardize women's reproductive rights by indicating that a fetus has rights.
The bill, by Assembly member Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park), is supported by HHSA.
Schwarzenegger's office declined to discuss his position on the bill (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 6/24).