OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a consumer alert reminding California residents of their right to access free or low-cost birth control. As states across the country take unprecedented steps to roll back reproductive freedom, California remains committed to expanding access to birth control and defending your right to control your reproductive choices. Today’s consumer alert outlines your birth control rights and answers frequently asked questions.
“California is a state of reproductive freedom through and through – that means giving people the tools to take charge of their bodies and their futures,” said Attorney General Bonta. “As anti-choice states across the country attempt to restrict abortion and sow confusion over access to contraception, California is forging ahead. If you live in California, you have access to free or low-cost family planning. I encourage all California residents to review today’s consumer alert and take charge of your reproductive rights.
If you are a California resident, you have options for free or low-cost birth control, regardless of your immigration status. Your rights to free or low-cost contraception haven’t changed since the June 2022 U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade.
Your rights to birth control
- You have the right to choose whether or not to have children. You have the right to choose or refuse birth control.
- If you have health insurance through an employer, more the plans cover the following services. If you covered California, everything the plans cover the following services.
- Up to 12 months supply of FDA-approved contraceptives, including ring, patch, or oral contraceptive pills, dispensed all at once, free.
- If you do not have health insurance, or if you do not use your insurance, you can always obtain, for a fee, a self-administered hormonal contraceptive from a pharmacist, without a prescription. To locate a participating pharmacist in your area, visit Birthcontrolpharmacies.com.
You may be eligible for free birth control if you are on Medi-Cal or have a low income
- If you are on Medi-Cal, you can receive free birth control as part of your plan, through any Medi-Cal provider.
- If you are a low-income individual or household but do not qualify for Medi-Cal, you may qualify for free birth control through the Family Planning, Access, Care and Treatment Plan (Family PACT) program.
If you are under 18, you can get birth control without parental consent
- Health care providers cannot tell your parent or legal guardian that you are receiving birth control unless you agree to share this information. California law requires schools to excuse students during the school day for sexual and reproductive health services, and the school cannot notify your parent or guardian.
Frequently Asked Questions
I earn a low income. What are my options for birth control?
If you have health insurance through Covered California or Medi-Cal, you’re covered! You have the right to obtain any method of birth control approved by the FDA, at no cost to you. This means you cannot be charged co-pay or cost-share.
If you have health insurance through your employer/spouse/parent, your options depend on the type of health plan. You will need to contact your plan to find out. If your plan does not cover birth control without cost-sharing or co-payment, California’s Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment Plan (Family PACT) may be an option for you. Please visit theFamilyPACT.org website to see if you qualify.
What birth control methods are FDA approved?
The FDA has approved several different methods of birth control. You can choose the method that suits you. Approved methods include: intrauterine devices (IUDs), implantable rods, contraceptive injection, combined oral contraceptives, progestin-only oral contraceptives, patch, vaginal contraceptive ring, diaphragm, sponge, cervical cap, emergency contraception and sterilization.
What if my health plan denies or charges me for birth control?
You can contact the Attorney General’s Public Investigations Unit to file a complaint. Complaint by a consumer against a company/company | State of California – Department of Justice – Office of the Attorney General.
There are also programs available to help you obtain contraception:
- The Title X Family Planning Clinic Locator provides information on clinics that offer a wide range of family planning and preventive health services.
- TeenSource.org features accurate and reliable information about STDs, birth control, healthy relationships, and the rights of teens to access sensitive services in California.
What are my rights to sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and related services?
- If you have health insurance through an employer, most plans cover the following services. If you have covered California, all plans cover the following services.
- Free advice on STI prevention and STI home testing kits
- Free testing for HIV and other STIs, if you are between 18 and 65 years old, at increased risk or pregnant
- Free pre-exposure and prophylaxis (PrEP) medications for HIV prevention, if you are at high risk of contracting HIV through sex or injection drug use
- If you are on Medi-Cal, you have access to any of the above services.
- If you are over 12, you can get STI testing and treatment without parental consent.
A copy of the consumer alert is available here.