SACRAMENTO — The California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus and members of the Democratic Women’s Caucus, as well as a contingent of openly LGBTQ+ elected officials from across California, joined 39 members of California’s Congressional Delegation in urging the University of California (UC) Board of Regents and President-designate Dr. Michael Drake to reject a proposal that would open the door for discrimination against women and LGBTQ+ UC Health patients. In the joint letter from 32 members of the LGBTQ and Women’s Caucuses and letter from 42 openly LGBTQ+ elected officials, the officials called on the Regents to reject partnerships with healthcare institutions that deny patients information and treatment based on religious or moral beliefs.
The letters come as the UC Regents delayed a vote in July on the proposal to enter into partnerships with health systems that impose religious restrictions on care. The proposal has yet to be added to the agenda for any of the upcoming UC Regents meetings. This latest showing of opposition to the UC’s proposal follows the release yesterday of a letter from 39 California Members of Congress insisting that UC Health, as a public entity, draws a clear line on healthcare discrimination and does not limit care based on religious doctrine.
“California must stand for inclusive healthcare for everyone, including reproductive and LGBTQ-inclusive healthcare,” said Senator Scott Wiener, Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus. “UC needs to stand strong and insist that anyone seeking healthcare have this access and not be limited due to others’ religious objections. This is a bright line test of California values.”
“Now more than ever we need to protect California’s access to reproductive care, including LGBTQ-inclusive care,” said Assemblymember Monique Limón, Vice Chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. “Denying patients healthcare based on religious restrictions is not only discriminatory but misrepresentative of what the State of California stands for. We stand with the LGBTQ community in preserving healthcare that represents all of our values.”
“Limiting a woman’s right to choose, and refusing LGBTQ+ communities the healthcare they need and have a right to, is simply unacceptable,” said Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan. “As the chair of the Select Committee on Women’s Reproductive Health, it is my hope that the UC Regents reject biased denials of care and provide inclusive and accessible health care for all.”
“As one of California’s most prominent institutions, the University of California must always embrace inclusion and equity and reject discrimination in all its forms,” said San Diego City Council President Georgette Gómez. “I am proud to stand with Equality California and LGBTQ+ leaders across the state in insisting that contracts between UC health systems and any outside partners explicitly affirm that students, employees, and patients will not be subjected to discriminatory religious policies that block access to beneficial care.”
“The State of California has long been a leader in LGBTQ+ equality and reproductive freedom, but today we are especially proud of our women and LGBTQ+ elected leaders who are standing against the University of California’s attempts to impose religious restrictions on care,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur. “While the Trump-Pence Administration and other states continue their assault on reproductive and LGBTQ+-inclusive care, California continues to be a beacon of hope. Today’s letters should send a loud message that we are not ready to go backward — and we hope the UC Regents are listening.”
“Amid unprecedented attacks on reproductive and LGBTQ freedoms from the Trump administration and the Radical Right over the last four years, California has consistently represented the resistance—refusing to yield any ground in protecting the civil and human rights of all people,” said Shannon Hovis, Director of NARAL Pro-Choice California. “With these letters, California’s Congressional, legislative, and local leaders remind the University of California that in the Golden State, we do not tolerate gender and LGBTQ discrimination, or discrimination of any kind. The University of California is world-renowned for its leadership in comprehensive reproductive and LGBTQ-inclusive care. With so much at stake for reproductive freedom and equality in 2020, the UC must live up to its values.”
Spokespeople from Equality California, NARAL Pro-Choice California and the ACLU of California are available for comment. Please reach out to the media contacts above.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org