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JOINT STATEMENT: California budget invests in pregnancy and birthing health; Momnibus bill can go further to address adverse birth outcomes in CA

The final 2021-22 California budget includes significant investments in new parent and infant health, many of which were part of SB 65 (Skinner), California’s Momnibus bill. While the progress made in the budget is substantial, SB 65 is still needed, as it contains additional provisions to reduce negative birth outcomes in our state. All of these comprehensive services, in the budget and in SB 65, are needed to address the disproportionate health disparities facing Black and Indigenous new parents and babies in California. 

We are excited that significant pieces of SB 65 are in the final budget. The following changes will be ground breaking for many families in California: 

  • A guaranteed income pilot program that prioritizes pregnant Californians.
  • Medi-Cal coverage for doula services, regardless of immigration status.
  • Earlier access to CalWORKs for pregnant people.
  • An increase in the CalWORKs pregnancy supplement.
  • Extended Medi-Cal eligibility for postpartum people.

“I’m very proud this year’s state budget includes funding to expand CalWORKs and Medi-Cal pre and postpartum services, key components of SB 65, the California Momnibus Act,” said Sen. Skinner, chair of California’s Senate Budget Committee. “These essential investments will help reduce the unacceptably high rates of maternal and infant mortality among Black and Indigenous pregnant people and their babies. I’m also pleased California is launching the first-of-its-kind guaranteed basic income pilot program prioritizing support to pregnant people. While there’s more to do, passing the remaining parts of SB 65 will help with additional measures to reduce birthing disparities.”

The budget investments mark significant progress, but California must go further to address its disparate birthing outcomes.

As the bill moves forward in the legislative process, we continue to push for:

  • Freedom from Welfare to Work restrictions for pregnant people on CalWORKs.
  • Birth data on lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and gender-nonconforming pregnant people in California.
  • Additional housing assistance for pregnant households.
  • State oversight of the Pregnancy Associated Review Committee investigating maternal death.
  • Updates to the Fetal Infant Mortality Review process to better collect information and prevent future infant deaths.
  • A midwifery training fund.

We appreciate our coalition’s continued support and Senator Skinner’s steadfast leadership as the bill heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee in August, then on to the Assembly floor.