LV Life Editor
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills into law – both aimed to protect women’s reproductive health and rights – in a virtual ceremony Sept. 22.
Assembly Bill 1356, written by Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, D-San Ramon, amended existing laws to secure a patient’s right to access reproductive health care, specifically abortions, safely and privately. The law will go into effect in January, banning doxing, the search for private information or identifying someone, and increase fines, up to $50,000 if bodily injury is caused, for harassment at reproductive health clinics.
In a press release, Bauer-Kahan said that she is proud that California is stepping up to guarantee that women can have access to the reproductive healthcare that they not only need, but have legal rights to. She said the new law is an essential step to safeguard this right that is more threatened than ever.
The law will also ban anti-reproductive rights protestors from coming 100 feet from an abortion clinic to disclose or distribute material that would intimidate a patient or threaten them to leave the clinic.
“This is amazing because, as it is,” said Naty Cattelon, sophomore kinesiology major at the University of La Verne. “Women are in a vulnerable state with the situation they are going through and with outside forces trying to sway them. It makes it even more confusing and difficult for women to make that choice, which should only be hers.”
Kiara Hulon, a sophomore biology major at ULV, said that the law could have regulated the proximity that protests can be at, since 100 feet is not enough. She said she has seen people protesting far from clinics, but it still leaves a negative impact on the patient.
“Women shouldn’t have to be told what to do with their body by someone else,” Sasha Sherman, sophomore educational studies major at ULV, said.
In a press release, Jodi Hicks, CEO Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said that as people face historic attacks and unimaginable restrictions to abortions from extreme politicians, California is providing an example of how to protect access to essential care.
She said that reproductive health care providers deserve to feel safe when arriving at work to provide that care and patients deserve to feel safe when showing up to receive it.
“I believe it’s completely wrong to harass women for getting an abortion, or to harass the providers. People don’t know what the circumstance is as to why they are getting an abortion,” Samantha Leyland, sophomore radiology major at Mt. San Antonio College, said.
The second law, AB 1184 now called the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act, written by Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, protects the privacy rights of people receiving sensitive health care services, including reproductive healthcare, gender reaffirming services, or mental health treatment related to substance or intimate partner violence. It will ensure patient information is kept confidential if they are not a primary policyholder for their health insurance. AB 1184 will go into effect July 1, 2022.
In a press release, Chiu said that patients should not forgo the healthcare they need because they are worried about their privacy being violated.
This new law will reassure patients that their safety is the top priority when they are seeking healthcare.
“I think (AB 1184) is very beneficial to women and anyone seeking mental health treatment because it keeps their information private and confidential,” Leyland said. “Being that it’s a very sensitive thing to do, it’s nice to have their private information kept safe.”
“In the end, (AB 1184) protects our right to privacy and if, theoretically, someone tries to spill any of the patient’s information, the bill would add more protections to the rights we already have established,” Melissa Capacte, sophomore kinesiology major at ULV, said.
Taylor Moore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.