The goal of the Reproductive Justice Project (RJP) is to obtain reproductive justice for low-income and under-served women, particularly women of color, immigrant women and adolescent girls, in California through policy advocacy, community education, and coalition building. For reproductive justice to be achieved, California’s strong and progressive reproductive rights laws must be fully known and understood by all women throughout the state. Furthermore, the current laws must be broadened. As it stands, the state’s reproductive rights laws are numerous and far-reaching:
- A woman’s right to choose is protected as a fundamental right in our state constitution and specifically reaffirmed through legislation;
- Health insurance plans that provide coverage for prescription drugs must provide equitable coverage for contraceptive methods;
- Sexual assault victims have access to emergency contraception (EC) in hospital emergency rooms and women have access to EC directly from pharmacists without a prescription;
- Through public benefit programs like Medi-Cal and Family PACT (Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment program), low-income women have access to pre-natal care and birth control; they can also obtain state funding for abortion services;
- A minor’s right to choose is protected by our state constitution and recent initiatives to end this right were defeated; and
- Numerous laws protect clients and providers of reproductive health services from harassment and violence.
However, many women are not aware of these reproductive rights and even when they are, they experience multiple barriers to exercising those rights. For example, many women lack health insurance, do not speak English, are low-income and are dependent on their husbands. To achieve reproductive justice, existing reproductive rights laws need to be broadened to include cultural competency and language access rights, and issues of poverty and sexism must be addressed. Without these essentials, many women are and will remain disenfranchised and unable to access or enforce one of the most fundamental of all constitutional rights – the right to control one’s body.
Through the RJP, CWLC provides women with information about their reproductive health and rights, advocates for public policy that addresses the reproductive health and rights needs of the state’s new majority of women of reproductive age – women of color and immigrant women, and organizes community based organizations to advocate for reproductive justice.
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