Senate Leader Atkins’ Legislation to Strengthen Protections for Abortion, Gender-Affirming Care Providers Passes Senate

May 24, 2023

SACRAMENTO – Today, a bill authored by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) to strengthen protections for California health care providers who provide abortion care services and gender-affirming care services passed out of the Senate on a 31-8 vote.

“With patients coming to California for abortions and medical care that is restricted or limited in other states, providers are currently putting themselves at risk by performing those services both here, and when they travel to other states to make abortion care accessible,” said Pro Tem Atkins. “The least we can do is ensure they are protected and able to provide this care in California, where it is legal.”

Senate Bill 487 would ensure that a health insurer or health care service plan cannot penalize a licensed California health care provider who performs abortion or gender-affirming care services. Additionally, Medi-Cal would not be able to automatically suspend a provider’s license when they are suspended by a Medicaid program in another state for performing abortion or gender affirming care services. The bill does not shield a provider from facing suspension or other consequences for any other wrongful or illegal acts, as determined through existing law.

SB 487 would also protect providers as it pertains to performing gender-affirming care. The bill would prohibit insurers from discriminating or refusing to contract with a provider who may have been sanctioned in another state for providing prohibited or restricted services that are legal in California. With many states starting to restrict or outlaw gender-affirming care, this provision is needed now more than ever.

SB 487 is sponsored by Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, the California Medical Association, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Region IX.
It now moves on to the Assembly.

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Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: