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California Bill Mandating ‘Pregnancy Dignity’ for ‘Birthing Persons’ Passes Health Committee

California Bill Mandating ‘Pregnancy Dignity’ for ‘Birthing Persons’ Passes Health Committee

The California State Capitol building in Sacramento, Calif., on April 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

4/3/2024

Updated: 4/4/2024

Some advocates for women’s rights are speaking out against a bill passed April 2 by the California Assembly’s Health Committee due to language in the measure that calls women “birthing persons.”
At issue is Assembly Bill 2319—introduced by Democratic Assemblywoman Lori Wilson and sponsored by California Attorney General Rob Bonta—which says the Legislature recognizes “all birthing people, including nonbinary persons and persons of transgender experience.” The bill additionally mandates “implicit bias training” for existing medical professionals by June 1, 2025, and within six months for those opening new practices.
A prior bill, Assembly 241 passed in 2019, also mandated such training, but an investigation by the state’s attorney general’s office found many medical providers were not following the law.
Proponents argued the new bill is necessary to reduce black maternal and infant deaths—citing statistics that show significantly higher mortality rates for black women during birth compared to white women.
While acknowledging that mortality rates during birth for black women are a legitimate concern, opposition witnesses took exception to the language regarding transgender and non-binary individuals.
“They really pushed in the hearing that it was to fight the black maternal mortality rate,” Sophia Lorey, key opposition witness and outreach director for the California Family Council, told The Epoch Times after the hearing. “That is a portion of the bill, but they chose not to address that they call women ‘birthing people’ and that it’s also focused on non-binary people and transgender people, so that’s what we pushed in opposition.”
She argued during the hearing that the bill is “force-feeding medical lunacy.”
“We focused on the fact that only women can give birth, and it’s illogical to say anything different, and it’s not implicit bias to believe that only women can give birth,” Ms. Lorey said.
Assemblywoman Mia Bonta, chair of the health committee and wife of Mr. Bonta, the state’s attorney general, concluded the hearing by declaring that transgender men and non-binary people can give birth, a comment opponents rejected.
“They ended the committee hearing with the chair making sure that we all knew that men can give birth,” Ms. Lorey said.
Such is not the first occasion key issues of a measure are either ignored or side-stepped during committee hearings.
Senate Bill 59, currently under consideration by the Legislature, which would put menstrual products in men’s restrooms, was handled in a similar fashion during hearings last year.
“We see this happen in multiple bills,” Ms. Lorey said. “During hearings, they chose not to refer to that part of the bill at all, and they only talked about free menstrual products in women’s restrooms.”
California State Assemblywoman Lori Wilson speaks to the state Assembly Judiciary Committee in Sacramento, Calif., on March 21, 2023. (California State Assembly/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

California State Assemblywoman Lori Wilson speaks to the state Assembly Judiciary Committee in Sacramento, Calif., on March 21, 2023. (California State Assembly/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

She said the approach is deceptive and misleads the public, but given the controversial nature of the topic, she expects the trend to continue.
“This isn’t the first time they’ve done this, and it’s not going to be the last,” Ms. Lorey said. “They just tend to mention the parts of bills that make them seem like great bills, and we have to come out and let people know what the bills are really going to do.”
The section of the health code described in AB 2319 contains a $75,000 fine for a first offense if medical providers fail to comply with the implicit bias training, and subsequent instances are subject to fines of $125,000.
Opponents argued that fining medical providers for not supporting transgender agendas is unacceptable and disregards the science of sexual dimorphism in the human species.
“[Providers are fined] for simply not agreeing with their ideology that men can give birth, that’s what they’re trying to force,” Ms. Lorey said.
Another opposition witness said the choice to couch the transgender language in a bill meant to improve healthcare for black women is manipulative.
“This is how the Democrats do it,” Erin Friday, a California-based attorney and parent advocate, told The Epoch Times after the hearing. “They have a good aspect of a bill which is designed to ensure that black women get the maternal care that they need, but then they throw in a dose of transgenderism.”
The method is a political tactic, she said.
“They do this routinely in so many bills, and they change the language,” Ms. Friday said. “And if you don’t go along with the language, they easily call you a racist.”
Erin Friday at the California state capital building in Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 28, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Erin Friday at the California state capital building in Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 28, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Arguing that women’s rights are jeopardized by the term “birthing persons,” she said the bill is “creating a new religion of transgenderism” and that women across the state are endangered by the measure.
“It was absolutely galling to hear them call women ‘birthing people,’” Ms. Friday said. “They’re erasing women because now we’re ‘birthing people.’”
One committee member said he was voting for the bill to protect black people, saying that he was confused by those opposing it.
“We have to protect all African Americans no matter what, and I’m not really understanding what the opposition is,” Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer said before voting in favor.
After clearing the health committee, the bill will next be heard by the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee on a date yet to be determined.
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Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

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Travis Gillmore is an avid reader and journalism connoisseur based in California covering finance, politics, the State Capitol, and breaking news for The Epoch Times.

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