Centers Of Excellence

Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy

An innovative new center engaging with community organizations, scholars, lawmakers, practitioners, and advocates on reproductive health, law, and policy.

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Envisioning a Future for Reproductive Rights and Justice

We are committed to training the reproductive law and policy leaders of tomorrow while empowering the advocates and scholars of today. By creating a trusted hub on the West Coast for local and national convenings, the Center engages academics, community members, and practitioners to reimagine the landscape of reproductive health, law, and policy.

The Center is a think tank and research center created to meet the current national crisis in access to abortion while working towards long-term solutions to advance reproductive justice. Our lawyers, policy experts, and researchers are working to concretely increase access to abortion, contraception, reduce racial disparities in health care, and support people who decide to build families. Through analysis, research, and strategy convenings we advance short- and long-term solutions for legal, policy, and narrative change, and serve as a trusted hub for convening and engaging scholars, advocates, healthcare providers, policymakers, and community members. The Center evaluates and promotes the spread of California’s policy innovations, trains the reproductive law and policy leaders of tomorrow, and helps organizer and garner the full power and expertise of the UC system to further reproductive rights, health, and justice throughout the nation.

Here is a short flyer about the Center and it’s goals.

Some recent highlights in our work include:

  • We authored an amicus brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of over 300 reproductive health researchers arguing there is overwhelming evidence of mifepristone’s safety.
  • We launched regular nationwide virtual convenings and a monthly research round-up to bring together advocates and researchers.
  • We released studies and doing advocacy based on our findings that inspired the state of California to release legal guidance and alerts about pharmacy legal obligations to provide minors emergency contraception and pharmacists ability to prescribe contraception.
  • We built an innovative Medical-Legal Partnership with Planned Parenthood LA (PPLA) Black Health Initiative and Legal Aid Foundation, to provide full spectrum legal services to low-income patients at PPLA’s Inglewood Health & Community Center.
  • We engaged nearly 50 law firms to provide pro-bono legal support nationwide through our Southern California Legal Alliance for Reproductive Justice.

Who We Are

  • Staff

    Melissa Goodman

    Melissa Goodman is the Executive Director of the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy at UCLA Law. Before joining the Center, Melissa was the Legal and Advocacy Director at the ACLU of Southern California for five years. In this role, Melissa led the affiliate's 60 attorneys, policy advocates, organizers, and support staff across offices in Los Angeles, Orange County, the Inland Empire, and Kern County. She led the department’s visioning and strategy, strategic planning, intersectional issue and cross-team collaboration, resource allocation, and helped lead statewide legislative, electoral, and organizing strategy amongst ACLU California affiliates and offices. She also co-chaired the national ACLU’s Gender Justice Task Force.  Before that, Melissa spent a decade leading and doing reproductive justice, LGBTQ, and gender equity litigation and policy advocacy campaigns as the ACLU SoCal’s Audrey Irmas Director of the LGBTQ Gender & Reproductive Justice Project, and as a Senior Litigation and Policy Counsel for Reproductive & LGBTQ Rights at the New York Civil Liberties Union. In those roles, Melissa led or supported policy and legal advocacy campaigns to expand access to abortion and contraception, sex education, paid family and sick leave for working parents; marriage equality; stop workplace discrimination and harassment in male-dominated fields such as Hollywood; end gender-based violence and harassment in schools, workplaces, and carceral and law enforcement institutions; decriminalize sex work and HIV status; stop LGBTQ discrimination; expand economic justice; and shrink the role of police and the criminal legal system.

    Cary Franklin

    Cary Franklin is the McDonald/Wright Chair of Law at UCLA and the Faculty Director of the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy and the Williams Institute, where she writes and teaches in the areas of constitutional law, anti-discrimination law, and legal history. Her work focuses on the development of conceptions of equality in American law and how this history influences the shape of contemporary legal protections in the contexts of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and race.

    Lara Stemple

    Lara Stemple is the Director of Southern California Legal Alliance for Reproductive Justice (SoCal LARJ) and the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and International Student Programs at UCLA School of Law, where she oversees the law school’s LL.M. (masters) and S.J.D. (doctoral) degree programs. Stemple teaches and writes in the areas of human rights, global health, gender, sexuality, and incarceration.

    Amanda Barrow

    Amanda Barrow is Senior Staff Attorney at the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy at UCLA Law. Her current work includes legal analysis and advocacy related to a range of reproductive justice issues, and coordination of the Southern California Legal Alliance for Reproductive Justice. Prior to joining the Center, Amanda represented clients in complex civil litigation matters at Kendall Brill & Kelly LLP and O’Melveny & Myers LLP, including in a federal case challenging certain state restrictions on reproductive rights. Amanda also clerked for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and worked for several human rights organizations. Amanda graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she was a member of the International Human Rights Clinic and an editor of the California Law Review. Amanda received an MA in Human Rights from Columbia University and a BA from Amherst College.

    Cathren Cohen

    Cathren Cohen is a Staff Attorney at the UCLA Law Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy, a think tank and interdisciplinary research center created to meet the current national crisis in access to abortion while working towards long-term solutions to advance reproductive justice. We conduct analysis and research for legal, policy, and narrative change and serve as a trusted hub for convening and engaging academics, advocates, providers, policy members and community members to reimagine the landscape of reproductive health, law, and policy. We also train the next generation of reproductive law and policy leaders. Prior to joining UCLA, Cathren was a Staff Attorney at the National Health Law Program and a Law Fellow with Lambda Legal’s Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Psychology from UCLA and her J.D. from NYU School of Law.

    Leslie Serrano

    Leslie Serrano, M.P.H., is a Research Data Analyst at the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy. Her research interests center around health equity, social determinants of health and reproductive justice. Her previous work for the Georgia Medication Abortion Study through SisterLove, Inc. focused on medication abortion knowledge and stigma. Leslie received an M.P.H. in Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences from the Rollins School of Public Health. And B.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy from Occidental College.

    Jaclyn Serpico

    Jaclyn Serpico (she/her) is a Fellow at the UCLA School of Law Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy, Her current portfolio covers a range of reproductive health, rights, and justice issues, with a focus on access to contraception and medication abortion. She received her JD from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 2022 and also holds master’s degrees in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, and Public Health. As a law student, she interned on the Public Policy, Litigation, and Law team at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and on the Federal Policy and Advocacy Team at the Center for Reproductive Rights, and was the founding president of Moritz’s If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice chapter.

    Carley Towne

    Carley is the Programs & Communications Coordinator for the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy. Carley has over 4 years of experience working for reproductive justice and feminist nonprofits. Her previous roles included federal, state, and municipal policy advocacy as well as community outreach. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2016 with a degree in Critical Gender Studies and Political Science.

    Cara Barnhardt

    Cara Barnhard is the Executive Administrator at the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy at UCLA Law. Cara joined the Center with over fifteen years of experience as an Administrative Assistant in Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction (K-12). Cara is a native New Yorker, but happily resides here in SoCal with her husband, Steve, and their dog, Deandra.
  • Law School Affiliated Faculty

    Cary Franklin

    McDonald/Wright Chair of Law
    Faculty Director of the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy
    Faculty Director of the Williams Institute

    Robert Bradley Sears

    Associate Dean of Public Interest Law
    Roberta A. Conroy Distinguished Scholar of Law & Policy, The Williams Institute
    Founding Executive Director, The Williams Institute

    Lara Stemple

    Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and International Student Programs

    Kate Mackintosh

    Executive Director, UCLA Law Promise Institute Europe
    Professor from Practice

    LaToya Baldwin Clark

    Professor of Law

    Kimberlé W. Crenshaw

    Distinguished Professor of Law
    Promise Institute Chair in Human Rights

    Laura E. Gómez

    Professor of Law
    Rachel F. Moran Endowed Chair in Law

    Jill R. Horwitz

    David Sanders Professorship in Law and Medicine
    Professor of Public Affairs (by courtesy)
    Founding Faculty Director, Lowell Milken Center on Philanthropy and Nonprofits
    Vice Dean for Faculty and Intellectual Life (2019-2021)

    Russell Korobkin

    Richard C. Maxwell Distinguished Professor of Law
    Vice Dean for Graduate and Professional Education

    Seana Shiffrin

    Professor of Philosophy
    Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice

    Adam Winkler

    Connell Professor of Law

    Jessica Peake

    Director, International and Comparative Law Program
    Assistant Director, the Promise Institute for Human Rights

    Jon D. Michaels

    Professor of Law

    Lindsay Wiley

    Professor of Law
    Faculty Director, Health Law and Policy Program

    Grace Meng

    Director, Judge Rand Schrader Pro Bono Program
  • Fellows and Scholars

    Sofia Perdoza, 2021 UC Presidential Public Service Fellow

    Sofia Pedroza (she/her) is serving as the Olivia and Jamie Cayden Reproductive Rights Fellow with the California Planned Parenthood Education Fund. Pedroza, UCLA Law ’21, clerked with Administrative Judge Louis Garcia in the Federal Sector of the EEOC. She served as articles editor for UCLA Law Review and Women’s Law Journal, while also co-chairing If/When/How, Lawyering for Reproductive Justice. Pedroza earned her B.A. summa cum laude, from Cal Poly Pomona and her M.A., magna cum laude, from UC-Irvine.

    Brittany Chung, 2021 Reproductive Rights Public Interest Scholar

    Brittany Chung (she/her) is the new Center’s first public interest scholar. She is currently a first year at UCLA School of Law, where she is a member of the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. Prior to coming to UCLA, Brittany worked as a legal advocate for domestic violence survivors in Philadelphia. During her time in the city, Brittany worked on a campaign to shut down crisis pregnancy centers and a community listening project regarding self-managed abortion care. She also served as a community organizing fellow for an abortion fund and a member of a practical support network that provided transportation and lodging for people seeking abortion services. Brittany firmly believes that true reproductive justice is rooted in racial, gender, and economic justice and encompasses issues of family safety and affordable and accessible healthcare. She hopes for a world where everyone has full control over what their family looks like.

    Anabelle Spezia-Lindner, 2022 Summer Fellow

    Annabelle Spezia-Lindner (she/her) just finished her first year at UCLA School of Law where she serves as a Co-Chair of the school's If/When/How chapter and a staff member of the Dukeminier Awards Journal of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law. Before coming to UCLA, Annabelle worked in legislative consulting in Austin, Texas, in a research role primarily focused on healthcare, legal aid, and local government. Annabelle hopes to work in reproductive rights policy and advocacy after law school, and is very excited to get started with the CRHLP this summer.

    Rebecca Rose, 2022 Summer Fellow

    Rebecca Rose is a 1L at UCLA Law passionate about healthcare law and reproductive rights. Rebecca has a bachelor's degree in Human Biology from Stanford University, where she was involved in reproductive justice student organizations and served as a sexual health peer counselor. Rebecca worked in healthcare consulting prior to attending law school where she learned about the (nearly infinite) complexities of the US healthcare system. This summer she will be interning at the California Attorney General’s Office in the Healthcare Rights and Access Section. Her work will focus on strengthening access to reproductive care, among other pressing healthcare access issues.

    Tristan Heart-Myers, 2022 Summer Fellow

    Tristan Heart-Myers is entering her last year at the UCLA School of Law where she is enrolled in the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law & Policy and Critical Race Studies specializations. Tristan has worked on the issue of Los Angeles hospitals drug testing labor and delivery patients and is deeply passionate about women’s right to autonomy over their bodies and private decisions. Prior to law school, Tristan worked in Seattle on issues of housing equality and homelessness, both in the non-profit sector and in local government. She is excited to bring her experience to the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy this summer.

    Mikayla Tran, Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy Scholarship Recipient for the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Students

    Mikayla Tran joins the UCLA School of Law with a B.S. in Society and Environment from the University of California, Berkeley. During her undergraduate career, Mikayla approached her work and academics with an eagerness to understand the intersectionality of social justice issues, prompting her to engage in research on the intersection of gender and climate justice. After graduating, Mikayla deepened her public interest roots by serving as an AmeriCorps member in a climate-focused program called GrizzlyCorps. She now hopes to bring her passion about reproductive rights, environmental justice, and legal advocacy to the law school community. Among her many goals in pursuing a legal education, Mikayla aims to reduce barriers to reproductive rights, support survivors of sexual violence, and humanize the practice of law for marginalized groups.

    Alanna McNaughton, Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy Scholarship Recipient for the David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Students

    Alanna McNaughton joins the UCLA School of Law with degrees in Political Science and Theatre Arts from Boston University. While working as an advocacy research specialist at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Alanna performed research at the intersection of disinformation, social media platform regulation, and reproductive health and rights. In their role, they supported accountability campaigns against social media platforms' spread of misogynoir and public health misinformation, worked on public education around mis- and disinformation tactics online, and informed strategic organizational priorities with their research. They are particularly excited about joining the Center for Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy as a theatrical storyteller that has seen the impact of abortion narratives on policymakers and the public and the potential to shift the conversation. During law school, Alanna hopes to dive deeper into the legal doctrine of reproductive justice, gender and sexuality law, and tech policy to find new and impactful ways to support individuals seeking affirming health care across intersecting identities and experiences.
  • Donors


  • Upcoming Events

    There are currently no upcoming events.

  • Past Events

    A Conversation with CA Senator Toni G. Atkins

    On February 8, 2024, CRHLP hosted an in-person conversation about CA Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Toni G. Atkins' important contributions to advancing reproductive rights and justice in California. We also discussed her inspiring path to becoming the first woman and the first openly LGBTQ person to lead the California Senate, and the first person in 150 years to lead both houses of the California Legislature. 

    The event also featured CA Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur, Chief External Affairs Officer for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles Celinda Vazquez, and Executive Director of CRHLP Melissa Goodman.  

    Abortion on the Ballot

    On November 9, 2023 CRHLP hosted a webinar that explored how the battle over abortion access has been fought through state ballots across the country and is growing to be a key issue in candidate elections. Held shortly after the November 7 election to enshrine a state constitutional right to abortion in Ohio, the webinar addressed the lessons learned from that campaign, including from the opposition efforts to keep abortion-related measures off the ballot altogether and the fiercely contested dispute to frame ballot language. The discussion of the Ohio election was contextualized within the broader learnings from the 2022 midterm elections, when measures protecting access to abortion prevailed in California, Michigan, and Vermont, and measures to restrict access were defeated in Kentucky, Kansas, and Montana. The webinar also explored the growing impact of abortion access as an issue in candidate elections.

    Watch the webinar on YouTube here.

    The Impact of Dobbs on Access to Abortion

    On May 9, 2023 this panel discussed the results of the #WeCount study and other research measuring the direct impact of the Dobbs decision on abortion, including medication abortion and access through telehealth. Legal experts responded to the findings and discuss current strategies for restoring access.

    Watch the webinar on YouTube here.

    Crisis Pregnancy Centers: Misleading and Biased 

    On April 26, 2023 CRHLP and the Bixby Center on Population and Reproductive Health co-sponsored a discussion about how crisis pregnant centers operate, including results from Paula Tavrow's latest study showing evidence of racial and ethnic bias in phone consultations between CPCs and male mystery clients.

    Watch the webinar on YouTube here.

    Implications of the Federal Court Rulings on Medication Abortion

    On April 17, 2023 at 12PM PT, CRHLP and the Health Law and Policy Program hosted a panel discussion and Q&A to discuss the future of medication abortion following two conflicting federal court rulings. 

    Watch the webinar on YouTube here.

    Visions of Reproductive Justice Series: Reproductive Rights at the Margins: Injustice in Immigrant Confinement

    On April 5, 2023 the Center for Immigration Law and Policy and the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy hosted a lunchtime event to explore the intersection between reproductive justice and immigration justice.

    Watch the webinar on YouTube here.

    Visions of Reproductive Justice Series: Perspectives on Climate Justice, Public Health, and Reproductive Justice 

    On March 15, 2023 CRHLP co-hosted a discussion about the intersection of climate change and reproductive justice with the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA Law. 

    Watch the webinar on YouTube here

    Mainstreaming Reproductive Health Conference

    To celebrate the publication of Feminist Judgments: Health Law Rewritten, edited by Seema Mohapatra and Lindsay F. Wiley, UCLA School of Law hosted an in-person conference on “Mainstreaming Reproductive Health in Health Law, Policy and Ethics” on February 10, 2023. 

    This national conference brought together health law, food and drug law, employee benefits, health information privacy, bioethics, and medical experts from across the country to share insights on how and why government and institutional leaders have traditionally siloed off reproductive and sexual health from other health care needs. We focused on the implications of this exceptionalism for efforts to secure access to reproductive and sexual health care in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. We identified strategies for mainstreaming reproductive and sexual health within efforts aimed at securing equity, patient safety, and patient autonomy in health care financing and delivery.

    This event was co-sponsored by UCLA Law’s Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy, UCLA Law’s Health Law and Policy Program, and SMU Dedman School of Law's Tsai Center for Law, Science and Innovation.

    More information | Watch the panels online 

    Visions of Reproductive Justice Series: Birthing While Black

    On February 8th 2023 the Black Law Students Association, the Critical Race Studies Program at UCLA Law, and the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy hosted a webinar to explore the intersections between reproductive justice and racial justice. This event was not recorded. 

    Visions of Reproductive Justice Series: Access to Abortion is a Human Rights Issue 

    On January 30, 2023 the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy and the Promise Institute co-hosted a webinar titled Access to Abortion is a Human Rights Issue.

    Visions of Reproductive Justice Series: Native Reproductive Self-Determination: Dobbs to Brackeen

    In November 2023, CRHLP co-hosted a webinar with the Native Nations Law and Policy Center at UCLA Law on native reproductive self-determination. 

    Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Post-Roe v. Wade

    On August 31, 2022, CRHLP's Cathren Cohen joined the Reproductive Health Policy and Change Event: Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Post-Roe v. Wade. Cathren discussed the legislative work being done to support access to abortion, including for the estimated 10,600 additional people who will travel to California now that Roe has been overturned.

    Tech Policy in the Shadow of Dobbs

    This panel, co-sponsored by the UCLA Institute for Technology, Law & Policy and the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy, brought together leading experts on cybersecurity, freedom of speech, and reproductive rights to discuss the tech policy landscape in the aftermath of Dobbs.

    After Roe: What's Next?

    A webinar sponsored by the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy that covered the legal implications for abortion access following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. Held on June 24, 2022.

    The Future of Reproductive Rights

    Whither the Court

For Students

  • Pro Bono Opportunities

    The Center launched its first in a series of research projects with students at UCLA Law in the Fall of 2021. Through a partnership with the Williams Institute and the student organization, If/When/How – Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, students are exploring abortion criminalization across the country. While we have seen a rise in abortion restrictions recently, several states have long criminalized abortion in some capacity. To help better understand the status of abortion criminalization in the U.S., students completed a 50-state survey on the topic, which will serve as the foundation for in-depth research.

    Students will have additional opportunities to assist with Center research and participate in pro bono events. Specifically, students will continue exploring barriers to abortion access, religious refusals, comprehensive sex-ed implementation, and issues of economic justice as related to veteran access to sexual and reproductive healthcare. 

  • Scholarships

    UCLA Law has a rich history of training public interest leaders who strive to make a difference in communities across the world through their dedication to public service and social justice. The Epstein Program offers one such avenue to prepare and empower students as they pursue a career in public interest law.

    Students interested in building a career as public interest lawyers focused on reproductive justice are eligible for a CRHLP scholarship. To apply, students must apply to the Epstein Program, write their public interest essay about reproductive justice, and be admitted into the Epstein Program.

  • Summer Fellowships

    Recognizing that a young lawyer’s training extends beyond the classroom, UCLA Law is committed to supporting law students throughout all aspects of their law school journey. This includes assisting students to gain summer employment, secure externships, and participate in clinics.

    UCLA Law students who wish to spend their summers focused on reproductive justice work can apply for a CRHLP summer fellowship.

    Students must apply for summer funding through the regular application process for UCLA Law summer funding and have a host organization that is focused on reproductive justice.  They should describe their passion for reproductive justice and the work they will be doing over the summer in their UCLA Law summer funding application. CRHLP summer fellowship awards are for $6,000 for 1Ls and 2Ls and are in place of UCLA Law summer funding (not in addition to it.)

  • Summer Fellows

    There are currently no positions available.

  • Post-Grad Fellowships

    Post-Graduate Law Fellow: The Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy is hiring a Post-Graduate Law Fellow to engage in cutting-edge, high-quality research and analysis related to reproductive justice. Learn more and apply by April 20, 2024.

    In addition to offering support during a student’s law school career, UCLA offers a number of fellowships to support graduates. Specifically, the CRHLP awards two public interest fellowships each year to UCLA School of Law graduates.  At least one fellowship will be to work for one year with CRHLP.  Graduating UCLA Law students can also apply for funding to work with a non-profit organization focused on reproductive justice. Applications for post-graduate fellowships will be announced to UCLA Law students in the spring semester of each year.

  • Law Teaching Fellowships

    Periodically, CRHLP will award a law teaching fellowship to work with CRHLP and teach at UCLA School of Law, including clinical law teaching fellowships. Any law graduate with a demonstrated commitment to reproductive justice, legal scholarship, and law teaching can apply for this fellowship program. Announcements for these fellowships will be posted each year. 

Projects and Programs

The Center and its affiliated faculty and scholars file amicus briefs in key court cases, publish original legal scholarship and public policy analysis, and work in coalition with key community partners. Recent examples and ways to get involved include:

  • Briefs

    On January 30, 2024 the UCLA Law Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy (CRHLP) and the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP filed an amicus brief on behalf of over 300 leading reproductive health researchers from the United States and worldwide urging the Court to reverse an appellate ruling that would severely restrict access to the abortion pill mifepristone. The brief argues that the Court should not allow the politics of abortion to obscure the clear scientific record which shows that mifepristone is extremely safe and effective.  

    Read the brief.

    Lauren van Schilfgaarde helped draft this amicus on behalf of Cecilia Fire Thunder, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, the Native American Community Board, and Additional Advocacy Organizations and Individuals in support of respondents in Dobbs v. Women’s Health Org.

    Read the brief.

    Jill Horwitz helped draft this amicus on behalf of economists in support of respondents in Dobbs v. Women’s Health Org.

    Read the brief.

    Jon Michaels joined Blake Emerson (UCLA Law), David Noll (Rutgers Law), and Diego Zambrano (Stanford) in this Brief of Legal Scholards in support of Petitioner, United States v. Texas.

    Read the brief.

  • Research and Reports

    Willingness of Pharmacists to Prescribe Medication Abortion in California 

    A newly published study in JAMA Network Open finds that nearly 70% of licensed practicing community pharmacists in California would be willing to prescribe medication abortion if permitted by law. However, fewer were confident in their knowledge (48%) or ability to do so (40%). 

    Read the full article in JAMA Network Open here

    Demographics of Contraceptive Method Use in California, 2020

    An estimated three-quarters of California women—approximately 2.8 million in 2020—who are sexually active and wish to avoid pregnancy are using contraception. While contraceptive use demographic data is readily available at the national level, less information is available on the demographics of contraceptive use at the state level in California.

    We examined sociodemographic variability in the main method of birth control reported by sexually active cisgender heterosexual and bisexual women. We found both demographic differences among California users and differences between California data and national data. Researchers, advocates, providers, and others concerned with contraceptive method choice should take these differences. 

    Read the report here

    Access to ella® Emergency Contraception at California Pharmacies 

    A new study from CRHLP found that only one in five community pharmacists in California works at a pharmacy that provides ella emergency contraception without an outside provider’s prescription. The report draws on data from a 2022 survey of California pharmacists and the 2020 California Health Interview Survey and emphasizes the urgent need for action to ensure equitable access to effective emergency contraception in the face of increasing bans and restrictions on abortion rights.

    Read the report here. 

    Barriers to Minor Access to Emergency Contraception in California Pharmacies 

    A new study from CRHLP found that teens under the age of 18 are prevented from purchasing levonorgestrel emergency contraception (EC) over the counter in about half of the community pharmacies surveyed in California. The study, conducted using data from the 2022 California Pharmacist Survey, sheds light on the disparities minors face when obtaining emergency contraception, a crucial resource for preventing unintended pregnancies among adolescents.

    Read more here.

    California Healthy Youth Act Implementation

    California has long led the nation in its push for inclusive sex education for students. Much of this advocacy culminated in the passage of the California Healthy Youth Act (“CHYA”) in 2016. The law requires instruction of comprehensive sex education, including but not limited to information about HIV and pregnancy prevention, healthy relationships, gender identity, and more for middle and high school students. Despite the law’s passage over seven years ago, it has yet to be fully implemented across the state. The UCLA Law Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy has been working in partnership with EducateUs, a national advocacy organization, to track implementation efforts across California. With the help of students participating in our inaugural Reproductive Justice Externship Seminar, we were able to craft a toolkit aimed at helping administrators and management at schools better implement CHYA in their district; as well as a Know Your Rights Factsheet for students to further feel empowered of their rights under the law. We are now working in partnership with advocates across the state to continue our efforts to ensure CHYA is implemented in every middle and high school in California.

    Fact Sheet

    Toolkit for administrators and management

    Contraceptive Utilization and Access Among Cisgender Heterosexual and Bisexual California Women 

    Using data from the 2020 California Health Interview Survey, researchers examined the use of birth control and pregnancy intentions of cisgender heterosexual and bisexual women ages 18-44.

    Results show that while many women of color in California are using contraception, women of color were overrepresented among those not using contraception relative to White, non-Hispanic women. Lower income women, those who were uninsured or had Medi-Cal, and those who did not have a usual source of health care were less likely to use contraception. 

    Read the report 

    Improving Access to Abortion Medication and Contraception: Findings from the California Pharmacist Survey 

    Despite state legislative efforts to increase access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services through pharmacists, current research suggests that the potential impact of these policies has not been fully realized. To better understand implementation barriers to the provision of SRH services, including abortion medication, emergency contraceptives, and self-administered hormonal contraceptives (e.g., the pill, patch, ring, or injection), we conducted an online survey of California pharmacists (N=919). Main findings include the following: 

    • Three-quarters (75%) of pharmacists would be willing to prescribe abortion medication if allowed by law. Looking ahead to this future potential authority, less than half were confident in their knowledge of medication abortion (44%) or their ability to prescribe abortion medications if allowed by law (41%).
    • Over 90% of pharmacists agreed that providing access to contraception is important, including emergency contraception (e.g., Plan B, Ella)
    • Less than one-third (29%) of pharmacists believed that parental consent should be required before providing emergency contraception to minors. 
    • Three-quarters (75%) of pharmacists were willing to prescribe hormonal contraception, such as birth control pills taken regularly to prevent pregnancy, to patients regardless of age. 
    • Very few pharmacists reported religious (9%) or moral (7%) objections to prescribing hormonal birth control.
    • Many pharmacists were confident in their knowledge of hormonal contraception (72%) and their ability to prescribe contraception (61%).
    • More than three-quarters (79%) of pharmacists working in community pharmacies indicated that their pharmacies provided levonorgestrel emergency contraception (e.g., Plan B, One-Step) without an outside provider’s prescription (i.e., over the counter or pharmacist-prescribed).
    • Despite having the authority in California, slightly less than half (46%) of pharmacists worked in community pharmacies that offered pharmacist-prescribed self-administered hormonal contraception (e.g., the pill, patch, ring, or injection).
    • Pharmacists most frequently endorsed these reasons for why the pharmacies where they worked did not offer pharmacist-prescribed contraception: inadequate staff or time to add new services (42%), lack of knowledge or training about hormonal contraception (32%), and lack of coverage for the service even if the medication is covered (24%). 

    Read the full report here.

    Improving Access to Essential Prevention Services: The Opportunities and Challenges of Expanding the Role of California's Pharmacists

    A new study by CHRLP, California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Centers, and the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists shows that while the vast majority of pharmacists in California want to administer PREP and PEP, most lacked the training or time to do so.  Key findings from the study include:   

    • Only 11% of those surveyed indicated that pharmacists at their pharmacy initiate PrEP as authorized by SB 159; similarly, 13% reported providing PEP under SB 159 
    • Respondents reported feeling that pharmacy-based PEP and PrEP provision is important (96%) yet significantly fewer respondents reported being confident in their knowledge of PrEP (50%) and ability to prescribe PrEP (41%) 
    • Less than a third of currently practicing licensed pharmacists (29%) reported receiving training on PEP and PrEP, as required to prescribe medications under SB 159 
    • More than a third of respondents (37%) from pharmacies that do not initiate PrEP selected inadequate staff/time to add new services as the main barrier to implementation
    • The second most cited barrier to implementation was the lack of insurance coverage for pharmacy-based PrEP services (17%).

    You can read the brief report here or the full report here

    People Traveling to Illinois for Abortion Care after Roe v. Wade was Overturned

    In June of 2022, the Supreme Court released its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and ruling that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee the right to abortion. As a result, states are now free to regulate abortion as they see fit and 26 states are likely to ban all, or nearly all, abortions. In the months since Dobbs was decided, we have already seen significant increases in interstate abortion travel and greater strain on clinics in states where abortion remains legal. 

    This data brief estimates that as a result of these restrictions on access to abortion, between 9,277 and 18,554 more people will travel to Illinois each year for abortion care.

    Read the report.

    The Implications of Dobbs on Reproductive Health Care Access for LGBTQ People Who Can Get Pregnant 

    A new review of studies from the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that the 2022 Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will have a unique and significant impact on LGBTQ people who can get pregnant.

    Read the report.

    Second Report on Preserving Reproductive Health Access on the Anniversary of Roe V. Wade

    On January 25, 2022, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a motion to ensure women’s access to quality reproductive health care services. The Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy has worked alongside Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health advocates to develop written recommendations on how Los Angeles County could respond now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. The report, which contains a recommended path forward to ensure everyone who needs reproductive and sexual health services has a right to access a full spectrum of care, features the CRHLP study which estimates that now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, an additional 10,600 people will travel to California each year for abortion care.

    Read the report.

    People Traveling to California and Los Angeles for Abortion Care if Roe v. Wade is Overturned

    A new study from the Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy at UCLA School of Law finds that when the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, an estimated 10,600 people will travel to California each year for abortion care, 6,200 of whom will come to Los Angeles County.

    Read the study.

    Testimony of Cary Franklin before the California State Senate Judiciary Committee in support of State Constitutional Amendment 10

    On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, Professor Cary Franklin provided testimony on behalf of SCA 10, a resolution which would amend the California State Constitution to "prohibit the state from denying or interfering with an individual’s reproductive freedom," "which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives."

    Read her testimony.

    Recommendations to Protect, Strengthen, an Expand Abortion Services in California

    The Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy joined more than 40 organizations to create the California Future of Abortion Council. Comprised of sexual and reproductive health care providers, reproductive rights and reproductive justice advocacy organizations, legal and policy experts, researchers, and advocates, with the support of California ‘s Governor and Legislative leadership, the Council released a set of Recommendations to Protect, Strengthen, an Expand Abortion Services in California. We are proud to sign on to these recommendations and to work in partnership with others in the Council to ensure California remains a state where the rights of patients seeking abortion care, and those who support them, are protected.

    Read the set of recommendations.

    Report on Preserving Reproductive Health Access on the Anniversary of Roe V. Wade

    The Center on Reproductive Law, Health, and Policy joined a working group convened by the Chief Executive Office’s (CEO), Women and Girls Initiative (WGI) to meet and develop written recommendations on how the County of Los Angeles (County) could respond should Roe v. Wade (Roe) be overturned. In phase one, the working group created an initial Report on Preserving Reproductive Health Access on the Anniversary of Roe V. Wade. This report includes information regarding monitoring the legislative timeline related to reproductive health care and contains recommendations for each of the Board directives in the areas of budget, enhanced medical training, expansion of the reproductive healthcare workforce, creating a uniform referral system, and opportunities to reduce and address health disparities.

    Read the report.

  • Legal Scholarship
    • Franklin, Cary, Living Textualism, Supreme Court Review, 2021 Forthcoming. Full Text
    • Michaels, Jon, Legal Vigilantes and the Institutionalization of Anti-Democratic Politics (2021). Full Text
    • Franklin Cary, The Story of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt and What It Means to Protect Women, in Reproductive Rights and Justice Stories, (edited by Melissa Murray, Kate Shaw & Reva Siegel, Foundation Press, 2019). Full Text
    • Franklin, Cary The New Class Blindness, 128 Yale Law Journal 2 (2018). Full Text
    • Franklin, Care Biological Warfare: Constitutional Conflict over “Inherent Differences” Between the Sexes, 2017 Supreme Court Review 169 (2018). Full Text
    • Khatri, Sapna, Hijras: The 21st Century Untouchables, 16 Wash. U. Global Stud. L. Rev. 387 (2017). Full Text
    • Franklin, Cary, Roe as We Know It, 114 Michigan Law Review 867 (2016). Full Text
    • Franklin, Cary, The Anti-Stereotyping Principle in Constitutional Sex Discrimination Law, 85 NYU Law Review 1 (2010). Full Text
  • Commentary

    CRHLP Staff’s Top 5 Takeaways from the Supreme Court’s oral argument in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA 

    Read more here

    CRHLP Staff Reflect on the Amicus Brief they filed in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. 

    Read more here.   

    CRHLP staff summarize two important policy briefs about increasing access to emergency contraception in California pharmacies. Read more here.

    CRHLP staff reflect on the news of the Supreme Court's decision to consider the case challenging access to the abortion medication mifepristone, and what this could mean for abortion access across the country. Read more here

    CRHLP Law Fellow Jaclyn Serpico reflects on election results from Ohio where voters approved Issue 1, enshrining abortion rights in the state constitution. Read more here.

  • Southern California Legal Alliance for Reproductive Justice (SoCal LARJ)

    The Southern California Legal Alliance for Reproductive Justice (SoCal LARJ) aims to bring together the legal profession in Southern California to advocate for and provide representation concerning abortion and other reproductive rights and justice issues.

    Our goal is to provide pro bono legal support to patients, providers, and others in Southern California and elsewhere in coordination and consultation with reproductive rights and justice organizations, state and local government agencies, and similar regional coalitions.

    Are you a lawyer or law firm located in Southern California? Please review our invitation to join SoCal LARJ here.

  • Covering the Bases: Tracking Legal Efforts for Abortion Nationwide
    • A comprehensive review of currently available legal resources nationally. View our resource here.



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