Cottie Petrie-Norris

Governor Newsom signs bill to build a reproductive health service corps

Recent actions surrounding Roe v. Wade and the Supreme Court have put more than 36 million Americans at risk of losing access to abortion care. In addition to the larger trend towards states removing abortion protections, California could see an increase in out-of-state patients from “46,000 to 1.4 million – a nearly 3,000 percent increase,” as reported in the Future of Abortion Council (FAB) December report.

Advocates are thanking Governor Newsom for signing AB 1918 to support and expand our reproductive health care workforce. The bill creates the California Reproductive Health Service Corps, which will be responsible for recruiting, training, and retaining a culturally and linguistically diverse workforce of health care professionals who will be part of reproductive health care teams assigned to work in underserved areas across our state. Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris secured $20 million in the state budget to fund targeted recruitment and retention resources, and training programs for health care providers that serve patients at a reproductive health provider location to compliment this legislation.

AB 1918 is part of a package of 13 bills authored by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus addressing the nationwide threat to women’s reproductive rights in accordance with recommendations from the Future of Abortion Council. In August, Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris met with Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss the work the Biden-Harris administration and California are doing to safeguard reproductive freedom.

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine), Author of AB 1918 said, “California is a beacon for women across the country. We must increase access for reproductive services in all of California’s counties. We will continue to defend women’s rights even while other states deny them. I am determined to protect reproductive health care access by expanding our medical workforce.”

Shannon Olivieri Hovis, NARAL Pro-Choice California Director said, “AB 1918 puts us on a path to ensuring that California remains a Reproductive Freedom State with a highly-qualified, well-trained, and diverse healthcare workforce by creating the California Reproductive Health Service Corps. In California, 40% of counties do not have an abortion provider and nine counties do not have a single OB-GYN. This bill will fund the necessary training to expand access to reproductive care in underserved areas of the state and build the infrastructure we will need if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this summer. If Roe falls, people across the country will travel to California to access care, and NARAL Pro-Choice California and our nearly 300,000 members thank Assemblymember Petrie-Norris for helping us to meet that moment.”

Molly Robson, Legislative Director, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California said, “In order for abortion providers to continue to be able to provide timely care to Californians while also serving people forced to travel here due to hostile restrictions, it is critical that California increases the network of clinicians who are trained and able to provide these essential services. PPAC is proud to support AB 1918, which proposes innovative steps to improve training for abortion services and ensure support for those who wish to enter the workforce, with a focus on increasing diversity to better reflect the communities and patients served.”

AB 1918 is supported by: California Nurses Association, California Medical Association, NARAL Pro-Choice California, the Office of Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, the State of California’s Attorney General, the City of Los Angeles, Access Reproductive Justice and the California Academy of Family Physicians. The bill passed the State Assembly 58-12 and will go into effect January 1, 2023.

This article was released by the Office of Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.