California lawmakers are one step away from making vasectomies cheaper for men.
On Wednesday, state senators passed the Contraceptive Equity Act of 2022, which would go into effect in 2024 and allow men on private insurance plans to receive vasectomies at no cost other than monthly premiums.
If signed by Gov. Gavin Newson, California would be the eighth state to implement the policy, joining Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Vermont.
"This legislation will build on existing measures to help ensure our contraceptive benefits and policies extend to millions more across the state since current law leaves too many individuals and communities without equitable access," Sen. Connie Leyva, the bill's author, said in a release. "Californians must be able to decide for themselves if and when they have children."
"Now SB 523 stands one signature away from becoming law and reducing the ongoing health disparities in reproductive health outcomes for people of color, low-income Californians and young adults," she added.
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The bill would also make it easier for women to get contraceptives by requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of over-the-counter contraceptives, including male condoms.
"Reproductive freedom is on the line and it's not a guarantee anywhere. Anything you thought was a given is not, and should be codified into law," said Liz McCaman Taylor, senior attorney with the National Health Law Program, a group that supports abortion rights. "[This bill] is so important for making California a safe space and a place where reproductive freedom for all people and all genders is valued and baked into the system."
Wednesday's decision comes months after the state also made abortions cheaper for women.
Following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed the right to abortion, California passed a law to make the procedure cheaper by banning private insurance companies from charging for co-pays, deductibles and other costs.
Illinois, Oregon, New York, Maryland and Massachusetts have also banned out-of-pocket costs for abortions.