State prison inmates will soon have the right to request and obtain contraceptives, according to a measure authored by state Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D- Los Angeles) and signed into law by the Governor. Women who are incarcerated while on prescribed birth control already have the right to continued access in state facilities through the prison system’s family planning services program. The new law extends that right to all inmates, some of whom are eligible for conjugal visits.
“The state has both a principled and economic stake in supporting the decisions of women who choose to use contraceptives while serving time,” said Senator Holly J. Mitchell, who authored the measure, SB 1433. “This law means that an inmate will be able to more fully engage in family planning before she’s released, enhancing the likelihood of a successful re-entry into society.”
Sponsored by the state’s own prison healthcare system, California Correctional Health Care Services, it was endorsed by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. There was no organized opposition to the bill, which was approved with bipartisan support in both the Senate (26-8-5) and Assembly (68-2-10), and becomes law next year.