Davis Signs Reproductive Health-Related Bills
Gov. Gray Davis (D) yesterday signed into law a bill (AB 1860) that requires California hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape survivors, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports (Mason, AP/Contra Costa Times, 9/6). Under the law, health care providers must offer EC to women who have been sexually assaulted and dispense the pills to women who request them (AB 1860 text, 8/12). Women who cannot afford the pills will receive them free of charge. Washington state is the only other state that requires hospitals to offer EC to sexual assault survivors. Approximately 8,000 people in California report being raped each year. The law will take effect Jan. 1.
Davis also signed several other reproductive health-related measures yesterday. Summaries of the bills appear below:
- SB 1301: The bill maintains abortion rights in the state even if the Supreme Court overturns the Roe v. Wade decision (AP/Contra Costa Times, 9/6). The Reproductive Privacy Act mandates that "the state shall not interfere with a woman's fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to ... obtain an abortion," although it restricts abortion if the fetus is capable of living outside of the womb (California Healthline, 8/13).
- AB 2194: The measure requires all accredited medical schools in the state to teach abortion procedures to OB/GYN residents (AP/Contra Costa Times, 9/6). The law allows medical schools or individual residents to "opt out" of abortion training if they have "moral or religious objections," but it requires medical schools that decide not to teach abortion procedures to ensure that OB/GYN residents can receive such instruction at a different institution. The measure does not establish specific curriculum standards for the abortion training (California Healthline, 8/13).
- AB 797: The bill ensures the confidentiality of the addresses of abortion providers and women who undergo abortions (AP/Contra Costa Times, 9/6). The law allows doctors, nurses, patients and volunteers at abortion clinics to enroll in California's Safe At Home program, which was created in 1998 to keep confidential the home addresses of domestic violence survivors. The legislation aims to prevent antiabortion groups from publishing on the Internet the addresses of abortion doctors and patients (California Healthline, 8/23).