California Governor Signs Landmark Bills For Women’s Rights
In keeping with the state’s status as a pioneer in the protection of women’s rights, California Governor Gray Davis signed four bills yesterday that will ensure that California women have access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare services. With Davis signing Assembly Bill 2194 into law, California became the first state in the US to require all accredited medical schools to offer abortion training. While the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has required that residents have access to training in abortion since 1996, more than half of all ob/gyn residency programs in the country do not offer this training. Currently, 86 percent of counties in the United States do not have access to an abortion provider while in California, more than one-third of all counties do provide abortion services.
Davis also signed into law a bill known as Confidentiality for Reproductive Health Care Workers and Patients, which allows abortion clinics’ doctors, nurses, volunteers and patients to enroll in the state’s Safe At Home program – created to conceal the home addresses of domestic violence and stalking victims. The bill was originally written to prevent anti-abortion extremists groups from posting the home addresses of abortion providers on Web sites such as the “Nuremberg Files, which encourages violence toward clinic staff and patients.
In yet another feminist effort, Davis also signed The Reproductive Privacy Act; which protects abortion rights in California in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned by the US Supreme Court and allows greater access to a safe and early medical abortion by allowing nurses to prescribe mifepristone. The fourth bill, Assembly Bill 1860, requires medical professionals to provide female sexual assault victims with emergency contraception upon request.
Media Resources: Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles Press Release 9/5/02; San Jose Mercury News 9/6/02; Contra Costa Times 9/23/02; Feminist Daily News 8/13/02, 8/15/02, 8/22/02