CITIZENS FOR CHOICE PUBLIC POLICY ADVOCACY – 2020
Public policy challenges to reproductive health and justice continue to face us in 2020, even as our nation and world deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially acute challenges come from changes to federal programs and policies that reduce access to abortion, birth control and reproductive healthcare generally; state laws restricting access to abortion and birth control; and the repeated failures of our highest court, the U.S. Supreme Court, to exercise its historic role in protecting reproductive rights against such challenges. Yet, here in California, we have singular opportunities to make positive changes.
No matter how hostile the policy climate may be, Citizens for Choice remains committed to its bedrock principles and to its advocacy in support of women’s autonomy over their bodies and their rights to affordable, quality reproductive healthcare. We continue to staunchly defend and, when possible, expand access to abortion and family planning services. We will not rest until all of our fellow Americans enjoy that access.
As we strive to make reproductive justice a lived reality in California, we are currently advocating for the following bills to become law in our state, bills that would:
- Set standards for improved pregnancy care for incarcerated women and postnatal care for themselves and their babies (AB 732)
- Require colleges and universities to adopt stricter procedures for investigating complaints of sexual harassment and violence (SB 493)
- Ensure that hospital mergers do not result in reduced access to reproductive healthcare by requiring pre-approval from our Attorney General (SB 977)
- Address the disparities in maternal and child health for people of color by increasing access to certified nurse midwives (SB 1237)
- Protect workers from losing their jobs when they take family leave to which they are entitled (SB 1383)
MAKING COMPREHENSIVE SEX EDUCATION A REALITY IN CALIFORNIA
On the administrative front, we support the ongoing implementation of the California Healthy Youth Act (enacted in 2015). CHYA aims to ensure that students receive both HIV prevention education and comprehensive sex education that is medically accurate, objective and unbiased. California adopted a Health Education Framework that sets curricula standards in May, 2019. This summer, the State Board of Education made the disappointing decision to abandon the adoption of approved instructional materials or textbooks, making the decision a local one. Here, Nevada Joint Unified High School District is in the process of adopting instructional materials, although actually providing classroom instruction using qualified in-house instructors has been further delayed by COVID-19 concerns and restrictions.
We occasionally ask that our supporters join in our advocacy, by contacting policy makers on specific measures. Please join us, by taking such actions. You will help make a difference, advancing reproductive health and rights and making reproductive justice a lived reality for us all.
Elaine L. Sierra, Esq.
Public Policy Director