California’s Latest Reproductive Health Idea? Student Loan Repayment

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California’s Latest Reproductive Health Idea? Student Loan Repayment

Rewire News Group Staff

California Gov. Gavin Newsom's budget proposal asks for $20 million in loan repayments and scholarships to future reproductive health-care providers.

While calls for student loan debt relief from millions go ignored by the Biden administration, more than 400,000 people will get some relief from a $1.85 billion settlement between Navient and 38 states over claims of predatory loan practices. One of those states is California, where student loan repayment is also part of a recommendation for improving reproductive health and abortion access.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom recently released his state budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. As part of the proposed budget, he’s asking for $20 million in student loan repayments and scholarships to future health-care workers who commit to providing reproductive health care.

It’s part of the state’s bid to be the first to achieve universal access to health care, regardless of immigration status. And that includes abortion access.

“The budget put forth today by Governor Newsom is another step toward leading the nation in prioritizing sexual and reproductive health care, including access to abortion,” Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California President and CEO Jodi Hicks said in a statement.

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On January 1, the state became the first to require health insurance plans to cover at-home tests for sexually transmitted infections. Next, state lawmakers are hoping to eliminate the $300 to $900 that abortion patients pay out of pocket under existing health plans.

As conservative states across the country continue their attacks on abortion access, the Golden State is vying to become not just a safe haven but a beacon for reproductive rights in the United States.

“California is in a unique position—while our reproductive freedoms and ability to make choices about our own bodies are constitutionally protected, the same does not hold true in other areas of the country,” California Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins wrote last month in the introduction to a report by the California Future of Abortion Council.

This post was adapted from a Twitter thread.