Legislation to cover prostate screenings, increase access to menstrual products, and more sexual health bills on-deck in California Legislature

Healthcare will be a major focus of the California Legislature this session, with a slew of bills on topics including youth behavioral health slated to be considered this year. Lawmakers have also filed numerous bills that focus on sexual health.

The Cancer Prevention Act, or AB 659, would add human papillomavirus (HPV) to the list of diseases for which immunization documentation is required in schools. It would specifically prohibit governing authorities from admitting or advancing any student to 8th grade of any private or public elementary and secondary school if the student has not been fully immunized against HPV. The bill would also clarify that the Department of Public Health adopt HPV-related regulations for grades below 8th. Current required school immunizations include measles, mumps, Hepatitis B, and Rubella, among others.


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AB 492 would establish a reproductive and behavioral health integration pilot program to support community clinics that are developing and expanding programs to provide screenings, referrals, and interventions for Californians who are at risk for mild-to-moderate mental health conditions in reproductive health services facilities. 

AB 632 focuses on healthcare coverage for prostate cancer screenings. This bill would prohibit healthcare service plans and insurance policies issued, amended, renewed or delivered on or after Jan. 1st, 2024, from applying a deductible, copayment, and coinsurance coverage for prostate cancer screening services for enrollees who are 55 years or older, or to enrollees who are 40 years or older with high risk. 

Existing law prohibits the infliction of pain, suffering, and willful neglect of a child, and imposes a penalty enhancement if a violating act was female genital mutilation. AB 798 would specify that an enhancement is not a defense that the conduct is required due to religion, custom, ritual, or standard practice, or if the person on whom it’s performed—or parents or guardians—consented to the procedure.

This bill would make it a felony for a person to remove, cause, permit, or facilitate the removal of a person under 18 years for the purpose of female genital mutilation. It would also enact legislation relating to community education, prevention, and outreach activities related to health risks and emotional trauma inflicted by the practice of female genital mutilation. 

SB 339 would expand the availability of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Existing law authorizes pharmacists to distribute at least a 30-day supply of HIV PrEP, and up to a 60-day supply of those medications if certain costs are met. This bill would authorize pharmacists to distribute up to a 90-day course of PrEP, or beyond a 90-day course if specified conditions are met. The California State Board of Pharmacy would be required to adopt the emergency regulations for July 1, 2024 implementation. It would also require healthcare service plans and health insurers to cover PrEP delivered by a pharmacist, including costs for the pharmacist’s services and related testing. The bill would include PrEP distributed by a pharmacist on the Medi-Cal list of benefits.

SB 59 and AB 230 have very similar goals: make menstrual products available for all. The Menstrual Equity for All Act of 2021 requires public schools with grades 6-12 to restock school restrooms with an adequate supply of free menstrual products in all female restrooms, gender-neutral restrooms, and at least one male’s restroom at all times. AB 230 would extend these requirements to apply to all public schools with grades 3-12. 

SB 59 would enact the Menstrual Product Accessibility Act, which would require all female restrooms, gender-neutral restrooms, and at least one male restroom in a building owned by the state, in a portion of a building where the state rents or leases office space, in a building owned by local government where a specified state-funded safety net program is administered, or in a hospital that receives state funding to be stocked with menstrual products that are accessible to the public and free of cost.