90 Legislators Scored 100%, but much work remains to protect and expand access to care
CALIFORNIA – Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) has released its annual Legislative Scorecard for the 2020 Legislative session. The Scorecard scores legislators by their votes on issues relating to Planned Parenthood’s mission, including access to affordable, high-quality sexual and reproductive health care, health equity, and sex education in California. This year, PPAC evaluated Legislators on their vote on the State Budget, which included critical Proposition 56 funds in the final version.
For the 2020 Legislative session, based on the single budget vote, 29 Senators and 61 Assemblymembers, all Democrats, received 100% scores —over three-quarters of the California Legislature. Of those, PPAC is especially grateful for the Legislators that authored and were outspoken around legislation PPAC introduced at the beginning of 2020, specifically: Assemblymembers Aguiar-Curry, Arambula, Bauer-Kahan, Chiu, Gray, Kamlager as well as Senator Jackson and Senator Pan.
Early in the legislative session, Planned Parenthood affiliates in California, like with so many other organizations, worked to rapidly meet the moment of COVID-19, and shifted our legislative priorities to algin with the changing times. But what remained consistent was Planned Parenthood’s provision of compassionate, non-judgmental sexual and reproductive health care even amidst the pandemic, such provision which is tied to Proposition 56 funds. Given that Planned Parenthood and other safety net providers rely on Proposition 56 funds to provide high-quality, affordable care in a timely matter, ensuring these funds remained in the State Budget was critical for the survival of the safety net health care system—and thus PPAC’s top priority.
“We appreciate the 90 legislators who stood with us in their final vote on the State Budget, allowing Planned Parenthood to continue providing essential and timely care to Californians. In these challenging times, especially as sexual and reproductive health care continues to face relentless attacks, we know our champions in California recognize we have an obligation to ensure Californians have access to safe, affordable health care ,” said Jodi Hicks, President/CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California.
While PPAC commends the Legislative members who supported a budget that included funding for Planned Parenthood and other safety-net providers, more remains to be done to ensure the survival and wellbeing of sexual and reproductive health care providers and the communities they serve. Including, but not limited to, telehealth flexibilities and racial justice work.
“A possible changing U.S. Supreme Court, compounded with an ongoing public health crisis, systemic racism, and an ensuing economic recession, mean we need our elected officials and champions need to stand strong in their convictions to support reproductive freedom. In the legacy of Justice Ginsburg, this means committing to addressing the disparities within our health care system, exacerbated by systemic racism and sexism, and advocating for continued investment in California’s safety-net programs,” added Hicks.
PPAC began the 2020 Legislative session with a much different roadmap of how California could expand—not ban—access to sexual and reproductive health care. This included introducing budget items designed to increase funding for sex education and better support medical students and health care professionals, as well as introducing legislation aimed at removing financial burdens to abortion, increasing access to HPV and flu vaccines, improving security measures at reproductive health centers, and enhancing patient confidentiality.
While the changes to the Legislative calendar, as well as tremendous pressure put on the California State Budget due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, forced PPAC to suspend efforts on nearly all of the originally sponsored items, the importance of addressing these issues remains.
Planned Parenthood looks forward to working with the Legislature to put together a comprehensive and equitable plan that addresses health care disparities and invests additional resources into our safety-net system, which will continue to be a critical part of California’s communities.
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) is the statewide public affairs and public policy office representing California’s seven separately incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates. Through advocacy and political action, PPAC promotes policy in areas of sexual and reproductive health care and sex education.