AB 1356 would protect patients and providers from harassment and doxing at reproductive health clinics
Sacramento, CA – On the same day that the nation’s most restrictive abortion law went into effect in Texas, the California State Senate passed Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan’s (D-Orinda) AB 1356 on a 28-10 vote. AB 1356 adds extensive protections for patients and providers at reproductive health clinics and is sponsored by Planned Parenthood of California.
“The failure of the Supreme Court to protect Roe v. Wade makes it clear that it is up to State leaders to defend freedom of choice,” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. “The movement to destroy access to reproductive healthcare is more dangerous than ever. We must remain ever vigilant to protect a woman’s fundamental right to make a decision about her own body.”
The laws in Texas come from a rising national movement to deny all access to reproductive healthcare. Extremist protestors – well funded and undeterred by fines – return to clinics day after day to harass all who enter. They film patients and providers, follow them, and post their personal information on extremist websites, threatening their safety in exercising their legal right to healthcare. AB 1356 updates CA laws untouched for over a decade to ban this type of harassment and doxing at clinics.
“The priority at Planned Parenthood is to ensure patients can safely access the sexual and reproductive health care services they need. Yet, despite existing laws, California’s reproductive health care clinics, including Planned Parenthood and independent clinics, continue to face serious protest and anti-abortion extremist activity that threatens the safety of patients, providers, staff and volunteers, and interferes with health center operations,” said Jodi Hicks, CEO/President of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “AB 1356 is an important step to protect access to reproductive health care in California. AB 1356 shows once again that California is willing to step up when facing an onslaught of threats to reproductive healthcare. Healthcare requires security, privacy, and patient trust. Because of the persistent, and at times dangerous, protestors, many reproductive healthcare patients are being denied this access. By updating California laws, AB 1356 protects reproductive healthcare.”
Patients with financial means will always have access to hospitals that are free of protestors, tickets on planes to fly to other states, and ways to get abortions and other healthcare. This is not so for low income individuals, who primarily rely on clinics like Planned Parenthood. The Texas laws and organized protest groups deny access to those without other options, effectively robbing them of their reproductive freedom.
This bill will come back to the Assembly on concurrence before heading to the Governor’s desk.
Supporters include NARAL Pro-Choice America, California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, Fund Her, Santa Barbara Women’s Political Action Committee, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists District IX, California Academy of Family Physicians, Essential Access Health, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, and Women’s Health Specialists.
Coauthors of the bill include Assemblymembers Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), Boerner Horvath (D– Oceanside), Cervantes (D-Corona), Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), Friedman (D-Glendale), Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks), Carrillo (D- Los Angeles), Levine (D-San Rafael), and Blanca Rubio (D-West Covina).