Policy + Advocacy
Essential Access Health advocates to protect and expand access to equitable, high quality sexual and reproductive health care for all in California, Hawaii and beyond. We believe that everyone should be able to obtain the essential services they want and need – with dignity and respect - regardless of where they live, who they love, where they are from, or their socio-economic, citizenship or health insurance status.
2023 Public Policy Priorities
Essential Access Health’s 2023 policy priorities were developed in collaboration with our Title X provider network, community members, youth and other key stakeholders. They reflect our commitment to advancing health equity and our mission to champion high quality sexual and reproductive health care for all.
Safeguard the Title X Federal Family Planning Program
For more than 50 years, Essential Access has distributed federal Title X family planning funding to a wide range community health centers and clinics to support the delivery of equitable, person-centered, and inclusive family planning services. Essential Access will take action to safeguard Title X and ensure that qualified providers can continue to participate in the program.
Reduce Barriers to Birth Control
Everyone should have access to the birth control method that is right for them and supports their reproductive goals and overall health and well-being.
In California, Essential Access is focused on preparing the state to implement our sponsored bill SB 523 (Leyva) - the Contraceptive Equity Act of 2022. The measure updated California’s contraceptive laws to be more gender inclusive and extend contraceptive coverage benefits to millions of state workers, university employees and students. SB 523 also clearly prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees based on their contraceptive and reproductive health decisions. The measure takes effect on January 1, 2024.
Essential Access also works with partners to ensure equitable access to contraceptive care regardless of income, health care coverage status, or where someone works. In addition to advocating to safeguard Title X, at the federal level Essential Access is engaging in national efforts to urge the FDA to approve the first over-the-counter birth control pill.
Protect + Expand Equitable Access to Abortion Care
Abortion is essential health care. At the state level in California and Hawaii, Essential Access remains committed to protecting and expanding access to comprehensive reproductive health services as attacks on access to abortion continue across the country in a post-Roe environment.
As members of the CA Future of Abortion Council Steering Committee, Essential Access is advancing a comprehensive policy agenda and co-sponsoring AB 576 (Weber) to increase access to medication abortion care.
Essential Access is a proud member of the Hawai’i Maternal Infant, Health Collaborative and supported SB 1 to enhance protections for abortion patients and providers. Essential Access is also advocating alongside national partners to call for an end to the harmful Hyde amendment that prohibits federal dollars from going toward abortion care and disproportionately affects people who earn low-incomes and communities of color.
Address the Ongoing STI Public Health Crisis
Essential Access continues to lead efforts to address the ongoing public health crisis of sexually transmitted infections (STI) that is disproportionately youth and communities of color nationwide. In California, Essential Access is sponsoring SB 541 – The Youth Health Equity + Safety Act (PDF) - to expand youth access to condoms and the HPV vaccine. The measure is authored by Senator Caroline Menjivar and co-sponsored by Black Women for Wellness Action Project, GENUP and URGE. Essential Access is also supporting a measure to eliminate co-pays for STI services for individuals with private health insurance plans.
Advance Health Equity
Essential Access supports a wide range of policies that seek to advance health equity and reduce disparities in access to health care and public health comes.
Join us to protect and expand access to essential health services in California and beyond.