Health Care & Reproductive Rights

Attorney General Bonta Secures $700 Million Settlement with Johnson & Johnson for Misrepresenting Safety of Talc-Based Products

June 10, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, as part of a bipartisan coalition of 42 state attorneys general, announced a $700 million multistate settlement with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) resolving claims that the company violated consumer protection laws by misrepresenting the safety of its talc-based products. Specifically, J&J failed to disclose if asbestos was present in its talc products and that any asbestos present in the products is harmful and may lead to cancer. The proposed settlement, subject to court approval, bars J&J from resuming the manufacture, marketing, promotion, sale, and distribution of talc-based products. J&J stopped selling these products in the United States and Canada in 2020.

“Johnson & Johnson knew that it could not ensure the safety of its products for women and children and chose to prioritize profit over honesty. It's unacceptable, and for the people who were harmed, it's devastating,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Today and every day, I take pride in serving the people of California and holding those who compromise consumer safety accountable.”

Since 1992, J&J sold over 600 million talc products nationwide, marketed primarily as baby powder for infants and genital hygiene products for women. Talc products were marketed as safe and pure despite J&J knowing that it could not ensure the talc used in its powders was free of asbestos.

Long-standing studies have suggested a possible association between the use of powders containing talc in the genital area and the incidence of ovarian cancer. Both talc and asbestos are naturally occurring minerals that may be found in close proximity in the earth. The contamination of talc with asbestos is possible and at times, difficult to determine. Asbestos — a carcinogen that kills more than 12,000 people in the U.S. per year — is linked to diseases that are life threatening, or cause substantial pain and suffering, including mesothelioma, fibrosis, lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, as well as other lung disorders and diseases. There is no safe level of exposure to this highly toxic material.

In securing today’s settlement, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. 

Attorney General Bonta is committed to investigating and remedying harm to consumers affected by unlawful and deceptive business practices. In May, Attorney General Bonta announced a $10.25 million settlement with major U.S. wireless carriers resolving allegations that the carriers violated consumer protection laws by engaging in deceptive and misleading advertising. Also in May, Attorney General Bonta announced a settlement with Liberty Tax for running deceptive advertisements that misled consumers into thinking they were getting a free advance on their tax refund when they were actually taking out a high-cost loan.

A copy of the proposed stipulated judgment, subject to court approval, can be found here

 

 

Attorney General Bonta Calls on Congress to Fund Civil Legal Assistance

April 29, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

 OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a broad, bipartisan coalition of 39 attorneys general in submitting letters to U.S. House and Senate leaders urging them to fund the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in full. LSC is funded by federal appropriation and is a critical compliment to state and other funding for legal aid. LSC provides civil legal services to low-income Americans across the United States.

“As the People’s Attorney, I share a commitment to the equal access of our justice system and understand the barriers that low-income families can face when trying to access legal services,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The Legal Services Corporation provides on-the-ground legal assistance to Americans experiencing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, including our country’s Native American communities, individuals with disabilities, domestic violence survivors, survivors of natural disasters, and undocumented folks. I sincerely urge Congress to support our neighbors and prioritize investment in The Legal Services Corporation.”

Since its establishment by Congress 50 years ago, LSC has provided civil legal services to low-income Americans across the United States who otherwise would not have access to such services. LSC is funded by federal appropriation and the amount of the investment will determine the number of Americans in need that LSC will be able to assist. Each year, LSC provides grants to local nonprofits who together provide legal services to low-income individuals throughout the United States from approximately 900 offices nationwide, stretching from urban centers to small towns. However, despite 94% of federal dollars going directly toward eligible nonprofits delivering civil legal aid, the need for legal assistance is outpacing LSC's funding.

In submitting the letters, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of the District of Columbia, Georgia, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A copy of the letters can be found here, and here

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Files Lawsuit Against Pharmaceutical Company for Inflating Prices for Opioid Addiction Treatment

September 22, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that California, along with 34 other states and the District of Columbia, has filed a lawsuit against Indivior, a British pharmaceutical company, and MonoSolRX, an Indiana pharmaceutical film technology company, for antitrust violations.

The complaint, filed today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleges that Indivior and MonoSol RX engaged in a multi-pronged “product-hopping” scheme to block competition to Suboxone, an opioid addiction treatment, ultimately generating almost one billion dollars in undeserved profits.  In this kind of scheme, pharmaceutical companies try to maintain profits generated via a monopoly by slightly reformulating their product in a way that blocks generic competitors without offering any significant medical or therapeutic advantages to patients.

"When prescription drug companies unlawfully manipulate the marketplace to maximize profits, they put lives at risk and drive up the cost of healthcare for everyone.  Indivior and MonosolRX flagrantly violated the law, deceiving doctors and patients and shutting down generic competition in order to rake in profits," said Attorney General Harris. "These companies must be held accountable for this unlawful scheme that cost the public nearly a billion dollars and hampered fair competition in the marketplace." 

Indivior, then known as Reckitt Benckiser, was granted FDA approval in 2002 for Suboxone tablets, along with exclusive rights to sell the drug for seven years based on representations that it was unlikely to recover its investment in the drug.  During this time, Indivior generated over a billion dollars in sales of the Suboxone tablets.

When its exclusive rights expired in 2009, the company was faced with potential competition expected to eliminate 80% of its profits from Suboxone tablets within a year. Indivior, with MonoSolRX’s assistance, thwarted that competition by switching the form of Suboxone from tablet to film. It falsely claimed the tablets presented pediatric safety issues, made unfounded claims to physicians that tablets were dangerous, and raised the price of its tablet while lowering the price of the film. Through these actions, Individior was able to maintain artificially high prices for Suboxone, depriving the state and consumers of the benefits of lower prices that come with competition.

The complaint alleges that the conduct and agreement between Indivior and MonosolRX constitutes monopolization, conspiracy to monopolize, and illegal restraint of trade in violation of federal antitrust laws as well as of California's Cartwright Act and Unfair Competition Law. The complaint seeks to require Indivior to pay back any profits that resulted from the illegal conduct—disgorgement—and includes injunctive relief to ensure the conduct is not continued or repeated. 

Attorney General Harris has worked to curb the sweeping epidemic of opioid abuse, overseeing a state-of-the-art prescription drug monitoring program, CURES, that allows health providers and pharmacists to more effectively flag at-risk patients and curb prescription drug abuse.  Attorney General Harris and 37 other state attorneys general also sent a letter to Congress in support of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 (S.524/H.R.953), to increase prevention and treatment of heroin and opioid abuse.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has taken significant steps to protect consumers from monopolies and other violations of antitrust law, most recently joining with the United States, the District of Columbia, and 11 other states to file a lawsuit to block the merger of Anthem and Cigna, two major insurance companies operating in California.  The merger, if allowed to proceed, would drive up costs and undercut the quality of care available to Californians across the state.

She has also been a leader in challenging reverse payment agreements by which a branded drug company pays its rivals to not compete, which allows it to wrongfully inflate drug prices. Along with the FTC, the State of California filed the action that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court decision in FTC v. Actavis finding that such agreements could be anticompetitive. Attorney General Harris has also authored numerous amicus briefs attacking this practice, which costs consumers billions of dollars and increases drug prices.

In addition, Attorney General Kamala Harris has worked to protect Californians’ access to high-quality, affordable health care, including reproductive health care and has defended the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, joining a friend-of-the-court brief in Thomas More Law Center v. Obama and repeatedly speaking out in support of health care reform.

The Attorney General’s office also reviews all transactions involving non-profit hospitals in California, such as the recent transaction involving Providence and St. Joseph’s Hospital and last year’s change of control and governance for Daughters of Charity Health System.  Attorney General Harris has set clear conditions when approving mergers and other transactions to ensure that those served by the hospitals—predominantly vulnerable and low-income communities—continue to have access to high-quality health care.  

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Joins U.S. and 12 other State Attorneys General in Filing Antitrust Lawsuit to Block Merger of Insurance Companies Anthem and Cigna

July 21, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that California, along with 11 other states and the District of Columbia, has joined the United States Department of Justice in filing a civil antitrust lawsuit to block the proposed $48.3 billion merger of two major insurance companies, Anthem and Cigna.

The consolidation of two of the five largest insurers in the U.S., at the same time Aetna and Humana are also attempting to merge, would significantly undercut competition, driving up health care costs for consumers and employers.  The proposed merger would be the largest in the history of the health-insurance industry and would create the nation’s largest health insurer, with approximately 53 million plan participants.

“We have seen significant consolidation in the healthcare provider and insurance marketplace over the course of the past several years.  In some circumstances, these mergers can create benefits for consumers, including more innovation, more coordinated healthcare and better healthcare delivery.  The proposed merger between Anthem and Cigna does not strike that balance and would drive up costs to consumers and reduce access to quality healthcare for millions of Californians,” said Attorney General Harris. “We must not allow insurance companies to grow their profits at the expense of consumers.  By joining this lawsuit, I urge the court to block this proposed merger.”

In addition to the impact on health care costs to individuals and employers, the merger would drive down reimbursement rates for providers and threaten the availability and quality of medical care in at least 35 geographically diverse markets, 6 of which are in California (San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim). 

In California, Anthem and Cigna currently compete head-to-head for customers, especially large employers.  This competition is crucial for allowing employers to purchase high-quality health care plans for their employees at affordable prices.  Robust competition between these two companies also spurs innovation and helps municipal and state governments obtain the best possible prices for health care.

This proposed merger would result in higher premiums and administrative costs and would depress reimbursement rates for doctors and other health care providers, likely leading to lower efficiencies, more medical providers leaving the provider network market, and overall an inferior quality of care for patients.

The federal complaint, filed today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and attached to the online version of this news release, alleges potential violations of Section 7 of the Clayton Act and calls on the court to permanently enjoin Anthem and Cigna from merging.

The U.S. Department of Justice was joined in its lawsuit by California , Colorado, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Attorney General Kamala Harris has worked to protect Californians’ access to high-quality, affordable health care, including reproductive health care.  She authored a multi-state friend-of-the-court brief in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. in January 2014, urging the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s ruling allowing for-profit companies to deny essential healthcare to female employees based on the religious beliefs of the company’s owners.  She also signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in a major recent reproductive rights case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision substantially restricting access to abortion services in Texas.  In November 2013, Attorney General Harris joined a multi-state amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court in McCullen v. Coakley, supporting a Massachusetts law creating a 35-foot buffer zone around reproductive health care facilities. 

The Attorney General has also defended the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, joining a friend-of-the-court brief in Thomas More Law Center v. Obama and repeatedly speaking out in support of health care reform.

The Attorney General’s office also reviews all transactions involving non-profit hospitals in California, such as the recent transaction involving Providence and St. Joseph’s Hospital and last year’s change of control and governance for Daughters of Charity Health System.  Attorney General Harris has set clear conditions when approving mergers and other transactions to ensure that those served by the hospitals—predominantly vulnerable and low-income communities—continue to have access to high-quality health care.  

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Urges the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to Reconsider Discriminatory Blood Donor Deferral Policies

July 11, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf to abandon the practice of deferring blood donations from men who have had sex with a man (MSM) even once within twelve months of attempting to donate blood. In the letter, Attorney General Harris argues that modern technology and an increasingly sophisticated understanding of HIV allows the FDA to implement alternative non-discriminatory, scientifically sound methods for ensuring the safety of the nation’s blood supply.

In the wake of the mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, FL and the ensuing urgent need for blood donations, many safe and willing donors were turned away in order to comply with the FDA’s deferral guidance. 

“Understanding the FDA’s responsibility for maintaining the safety of the nation’s blood supply and your steadfast commitment to implementing data-driven policies, I call on you to consider less categorical risk-based donation policies that will ensure blood safety,” stated Attorney General Harris.

“As we work to achieve the Constitution’s promise of equal protection under the law, it is our duty to amend or repeal policies that keep us anchored to a shameful past. To those who suffer under lingering injustices and indignities, it is no answer to say: ‘Be patient and wait.’ And with regards to the FDA’s guidance, the time for patience is over,” the Attorney General added.

In 2015, the FDA’s “Revised Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission by Blood and Blood Products: Guidance for Industry” took a positive step by abandoning the outdated lifetime ban on MSM blood donations. However, the current standard of an unconditional twelve-month deferral period is functionally equivalent to a lifetime ban for many gay and bisexual men, and fails to maximize the eligible blood donor pool.

The Attorney General argues that adopting deferral guidelines that identify a donor’s actual risk of carrying HIV will help to overcome the nation’s routine blood shortages. By amending a discriminatory policy that wrongly stigmatizes LGBTQ Americans, this change will also allow the United States to write a new chapter in its civil rights history.

Attorney General Harris’ letter is yet another instance of her longstanding commitment as an ally of the LGBTQ community.  During her time as Attorney General, she has filed multiple amicus briefs defending same-sex couples’ constitutional right to marry.

In 2013, Attorney General Harris declined to defend Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot measure that would have outlawed same-sex marriage in California. Her decision was based on her commitment to uphold the Constitution and ensure every citizen is afforded the fundamental right to equal treatment under the law.

In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic opinion in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, which overturned the Proposition 8 ballot initiative. In recognition of the Court’s decision, Attorney General Harris declared that every county in the State of California must recognize same-sex couples’ right to legally marry.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Reminder of Registration Deadline for Revamped Comprehensive Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, CURES 2.0

June 28, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a reminder to healthcare professionals about the upcoming deadline to register for the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES) database.  All health practitioners licensed to prescribe or dispense scheduled medications are required by law to sign up for CURES by July 1, 2016.

In 2013, Attorney General Harris sponsored Senate Bill 809, authored by then-State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D- Concord), which created and permanently funded a new state-of-the-art prescription drug database referred to as “CURES 2.0.”  The legislation – supported by a broad coalition of health, safety, and consumer advocates – included a requirement that all healthcare practitioners authorized to prescribe or dispense controlled substances must apply for CURES access by January 1, 2016.  This deadline was subsequently extended to July 1, 2016.

“CURES 2.0 is not only a state-of-the-art, innovative, and secure database to improve healthcare providers’ ability to combat prescription drug abuse, it’s also a model for the nation on how to address this epidemic,” said Attorney General Harris.  “California will continue to lead the country in the adoption of technology to help curb prescription drug abuse and the diversion of controlled substances statewide.”  

The fully upgraded CURES 2.0 database was launched in January 2016 through a joint partnership between the California Departments of Justice and Consumer Affairs.  CURES enables healthcare providers to review their patients’ medication histories before prescribing new controlled substances.  In addition to providing users with faster and more reliable access to patient activity reports, the upgraded 2.0 system features cutting-edge analytics for flagging at-risk patients, allowing medical professionals to prescribe wisely and helping to prevent abuse or diversion of controlled medications such as opioids.

In December 2015, Attorney General Harris also announced a new streamlined registration process beginning in January 2016, which allows healthcare professionals to apply for CURES access and verify their credentials entirely online using secure web browsers.  Prior to the launch, Attorney General Harris sent a letter to members of the medical community urging them to only use secure software to access confidential and sensitive patient information.

To sign up for CURES, new applicants should visit oag.ca.gov/cures and click the link to register.  New registrants will need their license type and number to register.  Previously registered users of the CURES 1.0 system are not required to re-register. 

A registration “tips and tricks” document in multiple languages is attached to the online version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov/news.  In addition, the state’s 2016-17 budget included new funding for user-end outreach and support positions within the California Department of Justice to help CURES applicants and users navigate the system.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Releases Statement on Urgent Legislation Lifting Restriction on Organ Transplants Between HIV-Positive Individuals

May 27, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today released the following statement after Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1408, authored by Senator Allen (D – Santa Monica), which would allow life-saving transplants between HIV-positive individuals. Attorney General Harris received a letter earlier this week from a transplant surgeon at University of California, San Francisco and immediately urged the legislature to act to change existing law and allow HIV-positive individuals to receive organ donations from other HIV-positive individuals.

“I applaud Governor Brown and the legislature for working swiftly to eliminate outdated and discriminatory policies that criminalized life-saving organ transplants between HIV-positive donors and recipients.  Through tremendous, bi-partisan cooperation, our state's elected officials acted on a rare opportunity to immediately save lives.”

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Files Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson for Deceptive Marketing of Surgical Mesh Products

May 24, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) for false advertising and deceptive marketing of its surgical mesh products for women.  The complaint alleges that J&J neglected to inform both patients and doctors of possible severe complications and misrepresented the frequency and severity of risks.

California co-led a multistate investigation, including 46 states and the District of Columbia, into J&J’s surgical mesh products for women, and is seeking injunctive relief and monetary penalties to ensure that J&J stops its deceptive practices.

“Johnson & Johnson put millions of women at risk of severe health problems by failing to provide critical information to doctors and patients about its surgical mesh products,” said Attorney General Harris. “Johnson & Johnson’s deception denied women the ability to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.  My office will continue to hold companies accountable for misleading consumers and patients for financial gain.”

The surgical mesh device is designed to treat common health conditions in women such as stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. The lawsuit alleges that J&J misrepresented the safety of these devices by concealing the possibility of serious and irreversible complications caused by mesh, including permanent pain with intercourse and/or loss of sexual function, chronic pain, permanent urinary or defecatory dysfunction, and potentially devastating impact on overall quality of life.  

J&J also misrepresented the severity and frequency of common complications, and failed to disclose that its surgical mesh devices presented risks not present in alternative treatment options.

The suit further claims that J&J knew about potential risks and side effects prior to the launch of their mesh products, yet omitted that information from educational and marketing materials provided to doctors and patients.  

J&J sold 787,232 devices nationally from 2008 to 2014, including more than 42,000 in California for that same time period.  Worldwide, more than 2 million women had been implanted with these mesh products. 

In addition to the lawsuit filed today, J&J faces over 35,000 personal injury lawsuits in state and federal court related to its surgical mesh products. 

A copy of the complaint is attached to the online version of this news release at www.oag.ca.gov/news.

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Files Amicus Brief Urging Supreme Court to Protect Women’s Access to Contraception Under the Affordable Care Act

February 17, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SAN FRANCISCO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that California, leading a coalition of 16 states and the District of Columbia, has submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Zubik, et al. v. Burwell et al., urging the Court to protect women’s access to contraceptive coverage under the federal government’s Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The brief, written by California, was joined by Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

“A woman’s right to access contraception should not hinge on the religious beliefs of her employer,” said Attorney General Harris.  “The right to healthcare services is justly protected under federal law, and  the Supreme Court should uphold the ACA’s common-sense accommodation for religious organizations and protect women’s access to essential healthcare.”

The ACA provides an accommodation for religious nonprofit organizations that object to its requirement that employer-provided health insurance plans contain coverage for preventative healthcare, including contraception.  Through this accommodation, these organizations can simply opt out of providing contraceptive coverage to their employees by informing their insurance company or the federal government of their objection to this coverage.  If an organization does opt out, the insurer will then provide contraceptive coverage directly to employees at the insurance companies own expense.  In the Zubik case, several nonprofit religious organizations filed suit against Sylvia Burwell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, arguing that this opt-out accommodation violates their religious beliefs.

Attorney General Harris and the 17 other attorneys general argue in the brief that the Court should not interpret the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in a way that defeats and interferes with the essential and compelling purposes of the ACA and its preventative contraceptive healthcare coverage requirements.  As the brief notes, access to contraceptives is not only essential for public health, but is consistent with the intent of Congress in passing the ACA to ensure that all covered employees have access to no-cost preventive care, free of logistical and administrative barriers. 

The brief argues that the ACA’s opt-out accommodation does not create a substantial burden and therefore does not interfere with or violate the rights of these organizations under RFRA.  The brief also argues that the alternatives to this common-sense accommodation proposed by the religious employers would impose significant financial, logistical, informational, and administrative burdens on women seeking access to contraception.  These burdens would fall hardest on women with the fewest informational and financial resources to overcome them.

The brief urges the Court to interpret RFRA in a manner that would not interfere with States’ goals and prerogatives to protect public health and promote gender equity.

In January 2014, Attorney General Harris authored a multi-state friend-of-the-court brief in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., urging the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s ruling allowing for-profit companies to deny essential healthcare to female employees based on the religious beliefs of the company’s owners.

In 2015, Attorney General Harris co-sponsored AB 775, the Reproductive FACT Act, to ensure women have equal access to comprehensive reproductive health care and are able to make informed choices about their health.  The bill was signed into law by Governor Brown and went into effect on January 1, 2016.  The Attorney General’s office is vigorously defending the law in federal and state court. 

In January 2106, Attorney General Harris joined 13 other states and the District of Columbia in signing a friend-of-the-court brief in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision substantially restricting access to abortion services in Texas. 

A copy of the brief is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.

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Photo Release: Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Convenes Law Enforcement Leaders, Planned Parenthood to Address Recent Uptick in Threats and Violence Against Reproductive Health Clinics

January 26, 2016
Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala Harris today convened local, state and federal law enforcement leaders and Planned Parenthood clinic directors to discuss the recent uptick in threats and violence against reproductive health clinics and ways to increase coordination to better protect patients and health care workers.  The event consisted of a briefing for law enforcement officials on the current threats and a discussion of best practices to prevent and respond to them.

“The increase in threats and violence against patients and health care providers at reproductive health clinics is a serious threat to women’s reproductive rights and public safety,” said Attorney General Harris. “Patients and health providers have the right to receive care and provide services in a safe environment. This convening will help us strengthen coordination and ensure the safety of patients, health providers and our communities.” 

From July through November 2014, Planned Parenthood California recorded 31 incidents of threats and violence. During the same time period in 2015, the reproductive health clinics recorded 179 such incidents. Incidents have included vandalism, suspicious packages, trespassing, harassment of security officers and alleged death threats against doctors.   

Today’s convening focused on improving coordination between agencies conducting investigations into incidents in their jurisdiction, identifying patterns of incidents, and sharing best practices for local law enforcement to work with clinics to ensure the safety of staff and patients.

Photos from today's event can be found below:

High-resolution copies of these images are attached to the online version of this news release at oag.ca.gov/news.

 

 

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