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State Laws

California


Political Information

Executive (Governor)

Pro-choice

Senate

Pro-choice

House

Pro-choice

Abortion-Care Policies

Abortion Providers

Abortion Providers: Expanded Access to Surgical Abortion

An advanced practice clinician, including a licensed nurse practitioner or certified nurse-midwife may provide surgical and non-surgical abortion services in the first trimester. Only a person who has a valid license or certificate obtained pursuant to California law authorizing that person to assist in the provision of surgical abortion services may assist.  Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 2253 (Enacted 2000; Last Amended 2013).


Abortion Providers: Expanded Access to Non-Surgical Abortion

Only a licensed physician and surgeon, or person who has obtained a license or certificate of authorization in accordance with some other provision of law authorizing the provision of nonsurgical abortion, may provide a nonsurgical abortion.  Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 2253 (Enacted 2000; Last Amended 2013).


Abortion Rights

Protections: Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)

California has created additional protections for reproductive rights by adding an affirmative right to choose into its state law.  This law ensures women’s access to pre-viability abortion services and would remain in effect even if Roe v. Wade were overturned.

“The legislature finds and declares that every individual possesses a fundamental right of privacy with respect to personal reproductive decisions. . . Every individual has the fundamental right to choose or refuse birth control. . . Every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to choose and to obtain an abortion. . . The state shall not deny or interfere with a woman’s fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to choose and obtain an abortion. . .”  Cal. Health & Safety Code § 123462 (Enacted 2002).


Protections: State Consitutional Protection

The California Constitution protects the right to choose as a fundamental right and to a greater extent than the U.S. Constitution.  The California Supreme Court struck down under the state’s constitutional right to privacy, a law limiting state medical assistance for abortion in cases of life endangerment, severe physical health damage, fetal deformity, rape, incest, or unlawful sex with a minor.  Committee to Defend Reprod. Rights v. Myers, 625 P.2d 779 (Cal. 1981).  A similar restriction has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court under the U.S. Constitution.  Williams v. Zbaraz, 448 U.S. 358 (1980).

The state supreme court also struck down a law requiring either parental consent or a judicial waiver before a minor could obtain abortion care.  American Acad. of Pediatrics v. Lungren, 940 P.2d 797 (Cal. 1997).  A similar restriction has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court under the U.S. Constitution.  Planned Parenthood Ass’n of Kansas City v. Ashcroft, 462 U.S. 476 (1983).


Post-Viability Ban

California’s post-viability restriction states that an abortion may be provided after viability only if in the good-faith medical judgment of the physician, the continuation of the pregnancy poses a risk to the woman’s life or health.  Cal. Health & Safety Code § 123464 (Enacted 2002; Last Amended 2003); Cal. Health & Safety Code §§123466-123468 (Enacted 2002).

NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortion, such as California’s, that contain adequate exceptions to protect the woman’s life and health.


Biased Counseling

No state measure.

Mandatory Delays

No state measure.

Insurance Coverage & Abortion

Improves Insurance Coverage of Contraception

Coverage of All Unique FDA-Approved Products

What is required?  California law builds upon federal law by requiring that insurers cover all unique therapeutic products for contraception without cost-sharing, including those available over the counter when obtained with a prescription.  If a prescriber deems a certain contraceptive drug or device medically necessary for a patient, the insurer must cover it.  Insurers must also cover patient education and counseling on contraception, and related services, such as device insertion and removal.

To which insurance plans does the law apply?  All health-insurance and disability-insurance plans issued, amended, renewed, or delivered on or after January 1, 2016.  The law does not apply to specialized health-care plans or grandfathered health plans.  Grandfathered plans are group plans that were created or individual plans that were purchased on or before March 23, 2010 and have not made significant changes.

Does the law contain a refusal clause, allowing certain employers and/or insurers to refuse to provide or pay for contraceptive coverage?  Yes.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  A religious employer for whom contraception is contrary to its religious tenets, such as houses of worship.

What does the refusal clause allow?  A religious employer may require issuers of its health-insurance plans to exclude coverage for contraception.

Is this refusal clause overbroad, jeopardizing insurance coverage for contraception for women?  No.  The law carefully defines the term "religious employer" as a nonprofit organization that has the purpose of inculcation of religious values and that primarily employs and serves persons who share the religious tenets of the entity.  This definition appropriately covers houses of worship but not broad-based religious organizations that operate in the public sphere.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  Yes.  An employer exercising a refusal clause must provide written notice of the exclusions to employees.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  Yes.  A refusal clause may not be used to exclude coverage for prescription contraception ordered for reasons other than contraceptive purposes, such as decreasing the risk of ovarian cancer, or for prescription contraception necessary to preserve the life or health of the insured.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to obtain contraceptive coverage if their employer exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  No.

Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 14132 (Enacted 1993; Last Amended 2015) ; Cal. Ins. Code § 10123.196 (Enacted 1999; Last Amended 2015); Cal. Health & Safety Code  § 1367.25 (Enacted 1999; Last Amended 2015).


Improves Insurance Coverage of Contraception

No Co-Pay for Contraception

California prohibits most insurers from imposing any cost-sharing on all unique FDA-approved contraceptive products.

Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 14132(aa)(8) (Enacted 1993; Last Amended 2015) ; Cal. Ins. Code § 10123.196 (Enacted 1999; Last Amended 2015); Cal. Health & Safety Code  § 1367.25 (Enacted 1999; Last Amended 2015).


Supports Insurance Coverage of Contraception

California law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide equitable coverage for contraception.

What is required?  If a health-insurance plan provides coverage for outpatient prescription medication, it must provide coverage for a variety of Food and Drug Administration-approved prescription contraceptives, as designated by the insurer.  If the insured’s health-care provider determines that none of the methods designated by the insurer is medically appropriate, the insurer shall provide coverage for another FDA-approved prescription contraceptive prescribed by the insured’s health-care provider.

To which insurance plans does the law apply?  All health-care service plan contracts (except for specialized health-care service plan contracts) and certain disability insurance policies issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2000 that provide coverage for outpatient prescription medication.

Does the law contain a refusal clause, allowing certain employers and/or insurers to refuse to provide or pay for contraceptive coverage?  Yes.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Religious employers for whom contraception is contrary to their religious tenets.

What does the refusal clause allow?  A religious employer may require issuers of its health-insurance plans to exclude coverage for contraception.

Is this refusal clause overbroad, jeopardizing insurance coverage for contraception for women?  No.  The law carefully defines the term "religious employer" as a nonprofit organization that has the purpose of inculcation of religious values and that primarily employs and serves persons who share the religious tenets of the entity.  This definition appropriately covers religious entities but not broad-based entities that operate in the public sphere.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  Yes.  An employer exercising a refusal clause must provide written notice of the exclusions to prospective employees.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  Yes.  A refusal clause may not be used to exclude coverage for prescription contraception ordered for reasons other than contraceptive purposes, such as decreasing the risk of ovarian cancer or eliminating symptoms of menopause, or for prescription contraception necessary to preserve the life or health of the insured.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to obtain contraceptive coverage if their employer exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  Yes.  The California Supreme Court held that this law is constitutional under both federal and state constitutions.  Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc. v. Superior Court, 85 P.3d 67 (Cal. 2004), cert. denied, 125 S. Ct. 53 (U.S. Oct. 4, 2004).

Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1367.25 (Enacted 1999, Last Amended 2002); Cal. Ins. Code § 10123.196 (Enacted 1999).


Improves Insurance Coverage of Contraception

California law requires health-insurance plans to cover dispensing of a 12-month supply of an FDA-approved, self-administered hormonal contraceptive.

What is required?  Health-insurance plans must reimburse providers and pharmacies for dispensing up to a 12-month supply of contraceptives.

Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 4064.5(f)(1-2) (Enacted 2016); Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1367.25 (Enacted 2016); Cal. Ins. Code § 10123.196(s)(A) (Enacted 2016).


Supports Abortion Coverage in the State

Does California require statewide private insurance coverage of abortion services?  

Yes.  All private health-insurance plans must include abortion coverage without exclusions or limitations.  California law requires the provision of basic health-care services and the California constitution prohibits health-insurance plans from discriminating against women who choose abortion services.  The California Department of Managed Health Care has interpreted the law to require that health-insurance plans may not limit or exclude coverage for abortion services. Letter from Cal. Dep’t of Managed Health Care to Blue Cross of Cal., Anthem Blue Cross (Aug. 22, 2014), available at https://www.dmhc.ca.gov/Portals/0/082214letters/abc082214.pdf.


Low-Income Women & Abortion

Supports Low-Income Women’s Access to Abortion

California allows women eligible for state medical assistance for general health care to obtain public funds for abortion.  Medical justification or prior authorization for abortion is not required.  Medi-Cal Medical Services Provider Manual, Part 2, Abortions, 1-8 (Sept. 2010) at http://files.medi-cal.ca.gov/pubsdoco/publications/masters-MTP/Part2/abort_m00o03.doc.

A court held that the California constitution prohibits the state from excluding abortion services from the state medical assistance program while funding other pregnancy-related services.  Comm. to Defend Reprod. Rights v. Myers, 625 P.2d 779 (Cal. 1981).


Young Women & Abortion

Parental Consent

California law restricts young women’s access to abortion.

Is the law enforceable?  No.  A state court held that this law is unconstitutional and unenforceable because requiring parental consent or judicial authorization violates, without adequate justification, the explicit right of privacy set forth in the California Constitution.  Am. Acad. of Pediatrics v. Lungren, 940 P.2d 797 (Cal. 1997).

Who is considered a minor?  A young woman under the age of 18.

What is required – parental consent or parental notice?  Consent.

Who must provide consent?  One parent.

Are there other trusted adults who may provide consent instead?  No.

What is the process for obtaining consent?  A young woman may not obtain an abortion without the written consent of one parent.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest?  No.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of child abuse?  No.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman’s health is threatened?  Yes, but only if a medical emergency exists requiring immediate medical action.

May the parental mandate be waived under any other circumstances?  Yes, the young woman may try to obtain permission from a judge.

If a young woman must obtain permission from a judge, what is the process?  She must secure a court order stating either that she is sufficiently mature and sufficiently informed to make her own decision or that an abortion is in her best interests.

Are there other significant requirements under the law?  No.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  Yes.  A court held that California’s parental consent law is unconstitutional under the state constitution and has issued a permanent injunction prohibiting its enforcement.  Am. Acad. of Pediatrics v. Lungren, 940 P.2d 797 (Cal. 1997).

Other information about the law:  None.

Cal. Health & Safety Code § 123450 (Enacted 1995); Cal. Fam. Code § 6500 (Enacted 1992).


Family-Planning Policies

Insurance Coverage & Contraception

No state measure.

Low-Income Women & Contraception

Supports Low-Income Women’s Access to Contraception

California provides increased access to reproductive-health-care services through a State Plan Amendment (SPA) to its Medicaid program.  The SPA allows the state to cover family-planning services for women and men with family incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level who are not currently enrolled in Medicaid and do not have any other health insurance.  Additionally, enrollees must be (1) U.S. citizens or persons who meet the state’s defined immigration  requirements and (2) California residents.

Beneficiaries of family-planning coverage available through the SPA are not required to pay premiums or co-payments for covered services.  Covered services include: all FDA-approved birth-control methods, devices and supplies; a comprehensive reproductive-health history, physical examination, and pap smear; emergency services directly related to the contraceptive method and follow-up; pregnancy testing and counseling; prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections; HIV testing and counseling; limited diagnostic services for fertility management; male and female sterilization; reproductive-health education and counseling.

CA Family PACT Overview at http://www.familypact.org/Providers/provider-resources/TipSheets/Overview6-15ADA.pdf.  California State Plan Amendment, CA-10-014, at http://www.medicaid.gov/State-resource-center/Medicaid-State-Plan-Amendments/Downloads/CA/CA-10-014-Ltr.pdf; http://www.medicaid.gov/State-resource-center/Medicaid-State-Plan-Amendments/Downloads/CA/CA-10-014-Att.pdf.  


Improves Insurance Coverage of Contraception

California law requires Medicaid programs offered through managed-health-care plans or innovative fee-for-service managed-health-care plans to cover dispensing a 12-month supply of FDA-approved, self-administered hormonal contraceptives.

Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1367.25 (Enacted 2016).


Emergency Contraception

EC in the ER

California law ensures that sexual-assault survivors receive access to emergency contraception (EC) in hospital emergency rooms.  As part of the minimum standards for the examination and treatment of a sexual-assault survivor, a physician or other health-care provider must offer a sexual-assault survivor EC and provide EC to her upon request.

Cal. Penal Code § 13823.11(e) (Enacted 2002).


Other Important Issues

Clinic Protections

Clinic Protections

California has numerous laws related to clinic violence and harassment.  Under the California FACE Act enacted in 2001, any person who by force, threat of force, or violent physical obstruction intentionally injures, intimidates, interferes with, or attempts to injure, intimidate, or interfere with, any person or entity because that person or entity is a reproductive-health-services client, provider, or assistant, or in order to intimidate any person or entity from becoming or remaining a reproductive-health-services client, provider, or assistant, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable, for a first offense, by imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of up to $25,000 and, for a second offense, by imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of up to $50,000.  If the physical obstruction was nonviolent, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable, for a first offense, by imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of up to $2000 and, for a second offense, by imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of up to $5000.

Any person who intentionally damages or destroys the property of a person, entity, or facility, or attempts to do so, because the person, entity, or facility is a reproductive-health-services client, provider, assistant, or facility is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable, for a first offense, by imprisonment for up to one year and a fine of up to $25,000 and, for a second offense, by imprisonment for up one year and a fine of up to $50,000.

An aggrieved reproductive-health-services client, provider, or assistant may bring a civil action for injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, costs of the lawsuit, and reasonable fees for attorneys and expert witnesses.  In lieu of actual compensatory damages, the plaintiff may elect to recover statutory damages of $1000 for each exclusively nonviolent violation and $5000 for any other violation.  In addition the state attorney general, a district attorney, or a city attorney may bring a civil action for injunctive relief, for compensatory damages to aggrieved persons, and for the civil penalty of up to $2000 for an exclusively nonviolent first violation, $15,000 for any other first violation, up to $5000 for an exclusively nonviolent subsequent violation, and $25,000 for any other subsequent violation.  This law does not apply to a minor’s parent or guardian who is acting toward the minor.  Cal. Penal Code §§ 423 – 423.6 (Enacted 2001).

An additional law provides that any person who intentionally prevents an individual from entering or exiting a health-care facility by physical detention or obstruction is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable for a first offense by imprisonment, a fine of up to $250, or both; for a second offense, imprisonment for at least five days and a fine of up to $500; and for a subsequent offense, imprisonment for at least 30 days and a fine of up to $2000.  Cal. Penal Code § 602.11 (Enacted 1992).

Another law provides that any person who, alone or in concert with others, intentionally stops an individual from entering or exiting a health-care facility by physically obstructing the individual’s passage or by disrupting the facility’s normal functioning, defined as intentionally rendering or attempting to render a health-care facility temporarily or permanently unavailable or unusable by a licensed health-care practitioner, the facility’s staff, or patients, commits the tort of commercial blockade.  An aggrieved person or health-care facility may seek civil damages.  The court having jurisdiction over a civil proceeding under this law shall take all steps reasonably necessary to safeguard the individual privacy and prevent the harassment of a health-care patient, licensed health-care practitioner, or employee, client, or customer of a health-care facility who is a party or witness in the case, including granting protective orders.  Cal. Civ. Code §§ 3427 – 3427.4 (Enacted 1994).

Another law provides that any person who ignites or explodes any destructive device or commits arson for the purpose of terrorizing another, or in reckless disregard of terrorizing another, at a health facility, a place where a meeting or presentation regarding abortion policies or practices is taking place, or an office or meeting site of an organization that counsels for or against abortion or that engages in, as a major activity, lobbying, publicizing, or organizing with respect to abortion is guilty of a felony and shall be imprisoned for three, five, or seven years and fined up to $10,000.  Cal. Penal Code § 11413 (Enacted 1985, Last Amended 2011).

Another law provides that any person who willfully and maliciously damages any structure with butyric acid or a similar substance is guilty of a crime punishable by imprisonment and/or by a fine of up to $1000 for damage less than $400, up to $5000 for damage of $400 to $4999, up to $10,000 for damage of $5000 to $49,999, and up to $50,000 for damage of $50,000 or more.  Cal. Penal Code § 594.4 (Enacted 1993; Last Amended 1994).

Additionally, under the "Reproductive Rights Law Enforcement Act" enacted in 2001, the state attorney general shall collect information relating to anti-reproductive-rights crimes and release the findings on its website, direct local law-enforcement agencies to report to the California Department of Justice information relative to such crimes, submit an annual report to the state legislature, and develop a plan to prevent, apprehend, prosecute, and report anti-reproductive-rights crimes.  In addition, the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training is required to develop a two-hour telecourse on anti-reproductive-rights crimes, to be made available to all California law-enforcement agencies as well as the prepare guidelines establishing standard procedures that may be followed by law-enforcement agencies in the investigation and reporting of cases involving anti-reproductive-rights crimes.  The act, scheduled for expiration on Jan. 1, 2014, was made permanent in 2013. To do so, the legislature strict Cal. Penal Code §§ 13775 – 13778 (Enacted 2001; Last Amended 2013).

In 2002, California enacted another clinic-violence-related law, creating the "Address Confidentiality for Reproductive Health Care Service Providers, Employees, Volunteers, and Patients" program, recognizing that reproductive-health-service providers, employees, volunteers, and patients are often subject to harassment, threats, and acts of violence.  This act allows state and local agencies to withhold personal address information from public records if providers, employees, volunteers, or patients of reproductive-health facilities complete a state certification application to participate in the confidentiality program.  In 2016, California enacted legislation prohibiting individuals and businesses from publicly posting on the Internet the home address of a program participant or their family members. In addition, it requires the state to notify program participants that they can request their confidential address be withheld on property-related deeds and documents. Cal. Gov’t Code §§ 6208 – 6209.5, 6215 – 6216 (Enacted 2002; Amended 2010, Last Amended 2016).

In 2003, California enacted legislation prohibiting insurance premiums from being excessive or unfairly discriminatory for reproductive-health-services facilities or their administrative offices.  This law also requires an insurer to report a cancellation or non-renewal of insurance policy if the insured submits a claim that is the result of an anti-reproductive-rights crime. Cal. Ins. Code § 676.10 (Enacted 2003).


Fake Health Centers

No state measure.

Refusals & Guarantees

Refusals of Medical Care

ABORTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

California allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide abortion services.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Physicians, registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, or persons with staff privileges at or employed by a hospital or facility, as well as nonprofit facilities organized or operated by a religious corporation, association, or organization, or the employees thereof.

What does the refusal clause allow?  Allows physicians, registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, or persons with staff privileges at or employed by a hospital or facility, who objects in writing on moral, ethical, or religious grounds, to refuse to participate directly in abortion care.  The refusal of a person to participate may not be a basis for a claim for damages, penalty, discipline, refusal to admit by a medical educational facility, or a refusal to employ unless the person would be assigned in the normal course of business to work in those parts of the facility where abortion patients are cared for.  The refusal of a physician to participate may not be the basis for refusal to grant staff privileges.  A person associated with a medical facility that does not permit abortion who participates in abortion care in another facility may not be subject to penalty.

In addition, nonprofit facilities organized or operated by a religious corporation, association, or organization, or the employees thereof, may refuse to permit, provide, or perform abortion services.  The refusal of a facility or its employees to permit or provide abortion services may not be a basis for liability or other recriminatory action.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  Yes, under some circumstances.  A nonprofit facility must post a notice of its refusal in a location open to prospective and admitted patients.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  Yes.  The refusal clause does not apply to medical emergency situations.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for abortion services?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Cal. Health & Safety Code § 123420 (Enacted 1995).

HEALTH-CARE PROVIDER AND HEALTH CARE INSTITUTION REFUSAL CLAUSES

California allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to comply with individual health-care instructions or decisions based on conscience.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Health-care providers and health-care institutions.

What does the refusal clause allow?  A health-care provider, defined as a person who is licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by state law to provide health care, may refuse to comply with an individual health-care instruction or decision for reasons of conscience.  In addition, a health-care institution, defined as an institution, facility, or agency licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by law to provide health care, may refuse to comply with an individual health-care instruction or health-care decision if contrary to a policy of the institution that is expressly based on reasons of conscience.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  Yes.  A health-care provider or health-care institution that refuses to comply with an individual health-care instruction or health-care decision must promptly inform the patient.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for the requested health services?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  Yes.  A health-care provider or health-care institution that refuses to comply with an individual health-care instruction or health-care decision must (1) inform the patient promptly; (2) make all reasonable efforts to assist in the transfer of the patient to another provider or institution that is willing to comply with the instruction or decision; and (3) provide continuing care to the patent until the transfer is accomplished or until it appears that a transfer cannot be accomplished.

Cal. Prob. Code §§ 4619, 4621, 4734, 4736 (enacted 1999).

INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR CONTRACEPTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Although California law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide equitable coverage for contraception, certain employers and/or insurers may require that their plans exclude coverage for contraception.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Religious employers for whom contraception is contrary to their religious tenets.

What does the refusal clause allow?  A religious employer may require issuers of its health-insurance plans to exclude coverage for contraception.

Is this refusal clause overbroad, jeopardizing insurance coverage for contraception for women?  No.  The law appropriately defines the term "religious employer" as a non-profit organization that has the purpose of inculcation of religious values and that primarily employs and serves persons who share the religious tenets of the entity.  This narrow definition is appropriately limited in scope, applying to religious entities but not broad-based entities that operate in the public sphere.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  Yes.  An employer exercising a refusal clause must provide written notice of the exclusions to prospective employees.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  Yes.  A refusal clause may not be used to exclude coverage for prescription contraceptive methods ordered for reasons other than contraceptive purposes, such as decreasing the risk of ovarian cancer or eliminating symptoms of menopause, or for prescription contraception necessary to preserve life or health.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to obtain contraceptive coverage if their employer exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  Yes.  The California Supreme Court held that this law is constitutional under both federal and state constitutions.  

Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc. v. Superior Court, 85 P.3d 67 (Cal. 2004), cert. denied, 125 S. Ct. 53 (U.S. Cal. Oct. 4, 2004).

Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1367.25; Cal. Ins. Code § 10123.196 (enacted 1999).


Guarantees Access to Prescriptions

California law guarantees that women’s birth-control prescriptions will be filled.  Pharmacists are prohibited from obstructing a patient’s access to a legally prescribed medication or device, except under limited circumstances, such as if dispensing the medication is a violation of law or would be harmful to the patient.

If the prescribed medication is not in stock, the pharmacist must: (1) immediately notify the patient and arrange for the medication or device to be delivered to the pharmacy or directly to the patient in a timely manner; (2) promptly transfer the prescription to a nearby pharmacy known to stock the medication or device; or (3) return the prescription to the patient and refer the patient to a nearby pharmacy.

A pharmacist may refuse to dispense a medication or device based on ethical, moral, or religious grounds but only if the pharmacist has previously notified his or her employer in writing of the objection, and the employer can accommodate the objection without undue hardship.  Under those circumstances, employers are required to establish protocols that guarantee that a patient has timely access to the prescribed medication or device, notwithstanding the pharmacist’s objection.

All pharmacies are required to display prominently a notice for women and other consumers that explains their rights to access to prescription medications and devices. A written receipt that includes the required information may be provided to consumers as an alternative to posting the notice in the pharmacy.

The board of pharmacy and its executive officer are allowed to issue citations and letters of admonishments for violations of the law.

Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 733, 4122, 4314, 4315 (Enacted 2005; Last Amended 2007).


Counseling & Referral Bans

No state measure.

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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