Newsom signs bill protecting LGBTQ patient health care privacy

In a bill signing ceremony Wednesday focused on legislation to strengthen reproductive health services in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom also signed a law that protects the privacy of health care for LGBTQ and other patients.

Assembly Bill 1184 ensures that the privacy rights of people receiving sensitive health services, such as gender care, are not violated by their health care providers. This is one of two bills dealing with transgender issues drafted this year by Assembly Member David Chiu (D-San Francisco).

Sponsored by Planned Parenthood, AB 1184 prohibits healthcare providers from disclosing services that a patient receives under an insurance policy owned by someone else, such as a parent or spouse. For example, a young person who receives transgender health care as part of their parents’ policy may ask their health care provider not to inform them that their child is receiving such care. The same request can be made by a person seeking abortion services who does not want the holder of their health insurance policy to know about it.

The legislation establishes automatic privacy by placing that burden on health insurance companies rather than patients, as Chiu explained in a June guest opinion piece for the Bay Area Reporter. In addition to gender-affirming care, behavioral health care and addiction care are also covered by legislation, Chiu noted.

During the virtual bill signing ceremony, Chiu warned that without her bill becoming law, trans youth could be put in a “dangerous position” if their parents or guardians object to their transition. .

“Patients should not forgo the health care they need because they fear their privacy will be violated. With the signing of this bill, California is protecting and expanding access to health services crucial for our most vulnerable, ”Chiu told BAR in a statement. declaration.

The other bill, AB 1356 from MP Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda), prohibits the harassment and doxing that abortion protesters will do in clinics, such as filming patients and providers, following them , posting their personal information on extremist websites, and threatening their security.

Newsom said he was “proud” to sign the pair of bills dealing with these “deeply important” issues.

“It’s a difficult topic, a topic for everyone,” Newsom said, adding that he was happy to see “people’s dignity is centered in this conversation. It’s a big part of what we do. these bills “.

Newsom, who regularly signs the legislation without comment, hosted the virtual signing ceremony for the two bills following the entry into force of the Texas anti-abortion law, according to a media advisory from his office. He noted that this came as a coalition of reproductive rights and justice organizations in California launched the California Future of Abortion Council on Wednesday. The council will work with policymakers, providers and other stakeholders on recommendations to strengthen Golden State leadership and expand access to reproductive health care for Californians and those outside of California. State looking for services here.

“I am proud of California’s leadership in protecting access to sexual and reproductive rights, but as we have seen recently, we can and must do more. I applaud the creation of the FAB Council and I look forward to participating alongside other members and advocating for California to expand access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion following the dangerous, harmful and unconstitutional restriction put in place in Texas ” said Newsom. “My administration will continue to work to find ways that California can continue to be a beacon for those seeking essential services, especially those who face greater barriers in our state or who are coming. out of state to California to seek essential care that they cannot receive in their own state.

Pro Tempore Lesbian State Senate President Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), who worked as a director of clinical services at a women’s health care clinic in the 1980s, said she ” saw firsthand what access – and the lack of it – meant for women. eyes the devastating emotional and financial impact it had on them. I have met mothers who have lost their daughters to illegal abortions, as they considered their options. “

The recent United States Supreme Court ruling in a 6-4 decision to allow Texas to restrict abortion to six weeks while it considers legal challenges, Atkins said, “is not just a unique legal decision – it’s a decision that has a daily impact, a very real, very personal impact, for women across this country. And as we take a close look at what this will mean for California, I remain committed to protect reproductive rights and a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body and to access the health services she needs.

Another trans bill awaits signature
Newsom’s John Hancock is still waiting for Chiu’s AB 245 which will ban public universities from naming trans and non-binary students – that is, using their old names given to them based on the sex assigned to them at birth – on their diplomas and academic records. Newsom’s signature. This is one of many LGBTQ-related bills sent to the governor’s office this legislative session.

As of September 22, Newsom has enacted eight LGBTQ-related bills this year. Last week he signed AB 1094, written by Assembly Member Dr Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno), making California the first state in the country to collect data on violent deaths within of his LGBTQ community.

Two bills to help people living with HIV came into force in July. Senate Bill 283, drafted by Senator Lena A. Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), strengthens the Equal Insurance HIV Act of 2020. It prohibits, as of January 1, 2023, a life or disability insurer from consider an applicant’s profession in determining whether to require an HIV test.

The other HIV-related bill, SB 258, specifies that older adults living with HIV must be part of the population with “greatest social need” for programs and services administered by the California Department of Aging. Gay state senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), founder and former executive director of an AIDS agency in his coastal town, drafted the legislation.

In July, the governor also enacted Laird’s Act SB 272 updating the “archaic gendered pronouns” used in the state vehicle code to designate the commissioner of the now female-headed California Highway Patrol, as well. than in the whole State Insurance Code. It parallels another bill that Newsom enacted this month and drafted by Bauer-Kahan, who signed on as a co-author of Laird’s legislation.

Bauer-Kahan’s AB 378 systematically reviews the laws relating to the positions of governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state comptroller, treasurer, insurance commissioner and equalization commission to make all gender references to the gender of the neutral officer. Currently, most parts of the state code refer to these constitutional office holders as only “him” or “him”.

Newsom also signed Bauer-Kahan’s AB 439 to allow deceased Californians who are not binary to be identified as such on their death certificates.

Help the Bay Area Reporter keep going through these trying times. To support local, independent and LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.

About Bradley J. Bridges

Check Also


Scott Pridgen knows more than anyone about the housing crisis in Key West. CRICKET DESMARAIS/Weekly …