Schwarzenegger Signs Bill Clarifying Intent of Use of Proposed Federal Funding for Women and Children
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Thursday signed a bill (AB 794) that clarifies the use of $304 million in federal funds for women and children, while stating that state legislators have no intent to change women's reproductive rights under the funding request, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The bill allows the state to accept or use federal funding allocated to the state under the state's Children Health Insurance Program to fund "medically necessary pregnancy-related services" under Medi-Cal. It also will authorize the state to accept and use funds for women enrolled in the Access for Infants and Mothers program, which is administered by the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board.
AIM provides health care coverage to enrollees during and 60 days after a pregnancy and to children less than two years old born to a woman enrolled in the program before July 1, 2004 (Bill text).
Guidelines for the requested federal funding require that the money be used for low-income children "under the age of 19 years, including the period from conception to birth."
Supporters of abortion rights are concerned that the federal funding guidelines could be used to argue that a fetus has "child-like rights," the Bee reports.
The measure Schwarzenegger signed defines that the federal funds be used to serve women in addition to children and says that state legislators do not intend to change women's reproductive rights.
Supporters, including most Democratic legislators, say the bill will increase the chances for acceptance of the $304 million application. However, opponents -- including many Republicans -- say the bill will increases the odds the federal government will reject the state's application (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 7/1).