Policy Advocacy Campaigns

 

On the Issues: 

 

ACCESS Policy Agenda

We are committed to effecting policy change in the health care and social services systems that serve to 
broadly improve women's health, safety, and economic autonomy. Often, health care policy debates, both locally and nationally, fail to take into account the real life experiences of men, women and their families. Yet, it is these everyday experiences that illustrate the impact of new policies on access to care and health outcomes. ACCESS encounters the complex realities of our caller partners' reproductive lives through our Healthline, translates those lived experiences into our priority policy campaigns. With twenty years of experience eliminating obstacles to quality reproductive health care in partnership with low-income women of color, ACCESS is particularly well-positioned to inform policy debates about reproductive health.
 
The administrative and legislative policy recommendations that we offer in our policy agenda address systemic state and federal issues that directly impact California women seeking all types of health care, including reproductive health services like prenatal and abortion care. Using the stories of our caller-partners to contextualize the issues, we promote solutions that deal with access to the safety net; the number of reproductive health care providers in the state who accept Medi-Cal; contribute to federal efforts to allow public funding for abortion; and, provide a practical reproductive health and justice perspective on health care reform debates in California and nationally.
 
 
Legislative Record
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Check out our Legislative Record for California, with bills collaboratively determined between ACCESS Women's Health Justice, Black Women for Wellness, and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice.
 
 
 
 
 
Interested in any of the below campaigns? Want to learn more about Reproductive Justice, and Women's Health Policy Work? Apply to be an Activist Volunteer through our Reproductive Justice in Action Program!

Serving up Justice: Abortion Access and Reproductive Justice in Restaurant Work

Restarant & food service workers comprise 10% of the American workforce.  While acknowledging thevariety of backgrounds, experiences, and jobs that peope have in the sector, it is important to see reproductive justice issues that face food service workers in the context of affecting one in ten working people in the United States.

In operating a reproductive hotline for California, supporting people in their decisions around pregancy, and providing logistical assistance for callers accessing abortion care, ACCESS Women's Health Justice comes into contact with restaurant workers at the moment of need in a reproductive experience.  In addition, many of our staff and volunteers also work in the restaurant sector and have had experiences similar to callers.

Want to learn more? Check out "Serving Up Justice: Abortion Access and Reproductive Justice in Restaurant Work," by lead author by Sara Spriggs with additional support from Samara Azam-Yu, Gabriela Castillo, and Rachel Coe.


The Legacy of Hyde: The Impact of the Hyde Amendment on California

The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, bans the use of federal funding for abortion coverage.  As a direct consequence, the majority of people in the U.S. who depend on public insurance for health care don't have the coverage for abortion they need - especially the millions of people enrolled in Medicaid.

California is one of 15 states that uses its own Medicaid dollars (through Medi-Cal) to cover abortion care for low-income women.  Some believe that the Hyde Amendment does not impact Californians, that our state's policies protect us.  However, many in our state live an everyday reality that is far from utopia.  Hyde an other abortion coverage bans mean that there are still Californians whose income-level is deciding for them about if and when to parent.

Want to learn more? Check out "The Legacy of Hyde: The Impact of the Hyde Amendment on Californians." 


Invest in California Families: Repeal the Maximum Family Grant Rule! - Win!

ACCESS is committed to supporting all women in their decisions around family size and parenting. Under current California law, infants born into families receiving CalWORKS assistance are denied cash aid- this is known as the Maximum Family Grant (MFG) rule. This law endangers the health and wellbeing of infants born into poverty, while purposely limiting the reproductive choices and violating the privacy of low-income women.

SB 23 (Mitchell) co-sponsored by ACCESS Women's Health Justice, East Bay Community Law CenterWestern Center on Law and Poverty, the ACLU of Northern California, the County Welfare Directors Association, and California Latina's for Reproductive Justice would repeal the MFG rule to provide for the basic needs of newborn children while allowing women to make family planning decisions.

Follow us on Twitter! @access_whj and @InvestInFams

Want to learn more? Check out "Bringing Families Out of 'Cap'tivity: the Need to Repeal the CalWORKS Maximum Fasmily Grant Rule" by Elena R. Gutierrez, PH.D


The EACH Woman Act

The EACH Woman Act makes a meaningful change for women and their families, creating two important standards for reproductive health.

First, the EACH Woman Act respects that everyone should be able to make their own decisions about pregnancy. If a person gets their care or insurance through the federal government, they will be covered for all pregnancy-related care, including abortion.

Second, the EACH Woman Act prohibits political interference with decisions of private health insurance companies to offer coverage for abortion care. Federal, state, and local legislators will not be able to interfere with the private insurance market to prevent insurance companies from providing abortion coverag

Are you in? Sign our petition today!


Expand Access to Early Abortion Care- WIN!

Most people believe that reproductive heath care is easy to get in California, because we enjoy some of the strongest reproductive rights in the nation. Yet, thousands of women in California still find it nearly impossible to act on these rights or obtain health care without a struggle. 

Reproductive rights are meaningless when you don't know where to get birth control, no abortion provider accepts your insurance, you are afraid to seek prenatal care because of your immigration status, or the closest clinic is hours from your home.

AB 154 (Atkins) seeks to eliminate one barrier to access by expanding the types of trained health professionals who can provide early abortions. This bill will help women safely get the care they need in their own communities from healthcare providers they know and trust, like nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants. In October 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 154 into law. The law went into effect on Jan 1st 2014- stay tuned for updates on implementation of this important reproductive health law!

AB 154 is sponsored by the ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, American Civil Liberties Union of California, Black Women for Wellness, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, NARAL Pro-Choice California, and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. The bill is supported by the California Women’s Health Alliance, which comprises more than 30 women’s health and rights groups that support improving access to women’s reproductive health care.


Barriers to Medi-Cal and Healthcare for Pregnant Women

Medi-Cal is a vital resource for the poor and uninsured to pay for all types of health care, yet it remains an often inaccessible or inadequate source of care for eligible women seeking reproductive health services. Many uninsured women qualify for Medi-Cal but encounter cumbersome eligibility application processes, rampant misinformation about standard application requirements, frequent case processing delays and, more recently, onerous identity documentation requirements adopted as a result of the Federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. ACCESS is working to expose the every day barriers that pregnant women face when trying to access Medi-Cal to pay for care, propose solutions for ameliorating the barriers and partnering with the Department at Healthcare Services at all levels to remove barriers to care.
 
Read our policy brief about barriers to Medi-Cal here:
Barriers to Entry Ensuring Equitable and Timely Access to Medical for Pregnant Women.pdf

Women Working to Achieve Universal Health Care

As part of the Having Our Say Coalition ACCESS is also working toward moving forward the national health care reform proposals. We have worked with the Having Our Say Coalition to create an analysis of the major health care reform proposals from a social justice perspective, and contributed to the creation of a policy brief about health care reform.
 
Learn more:
 
 
Through Women LEAD for Health we are partnering with La Clinica de la Raza in Oakland, to train community health educators about how to affect state and national policy around health care reform.
 
Learn more about the Having Our Say coalition and Women LEAD for Health:
  • Women LEAD for Health is a collaboration of diverse health and women's organizations working to move California toward universal access to health care, by educating and involving women and women's organizations in state and local health reform efforts. ACCESS is part of the Executive Committee
  • The Having Our Say Coalition a coalition of over 50 grassroots community organizations, advocacy groups, and immigrant right activists works to ensure that health care reform solutions address the needs of communities of color and to unite California's diverse communities to fight for quality, accessible health care for all.

Medi-Cal Reimbursement for Second Trimester Abortion

 
Although abortion is a legal medical procedure covered by Medi-Cal, many women experience difficulty accessing abortion care, particularly in the second trimester of pregnancy. The shortage of abortion providers, and those who accept Medi-Cal specifically, is particularly a problem for women seeking abortions from 21 to 24 weeks, when the number of Medi-Cal providers dramatically decreases.
 
Learn more:
 

Three Applications of the RJ Lens//Tres Formas de Aplicar el lente de la Justicia Reproductiva

 
Reproductive Justice, as defined by Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice, exists when all people have the social, political and economic power and resources to make healthy decisions about our gender, bodies and sexuality for our selves, our families and our communities. This bilingual training curriculum was designed by EMERJ and translated by ACCESS to help reproductive justice activists and trainers to build a shared language and analysis of reproductive justice, connect reproductive justice to our communities, experiences, build skills to identify reproductive justice issues, and to build understanding of the core aspects of reproductive justice.
 
Learn more about the training tool: