The San Francisco Superior Court has struck down a state law requiring that low-income working women must have resided in California for at least six months before they can be eligible to receive prenatal and other medical care services through California's Access for Infants and Mothers (AIM) insurance program, according to an industry publication, Medical News Today.
"This ruling clears the way for pregnant women to obtain the essential prenatal care they need, both for them and their babies" said Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-Castro Valley) in the publication's report. "This is an important ruling for family health."
"Time is of the essence in obtaining access to prenatal care, especially in the first trimester," said Lynn Kersey, Executive Director of MCH Access, a non-profit organization that advocates for health care for pregnant women and children. In Medical News Today, she added: "Study after study shows that early access to prenatal care is important for the well-being of the mother and the child. To deny working women health care simply because they are new to the state endangers the health of both the mother and the child."
Two years ago, Hayashi obtained a legal opinion from Legislative Counsel stating that the exclusion of low-income California women from pre-natal care based on length of residency is unconstitutional. Hayashi responded by authoring Assembly Bill 1328, a bill to delete the six-month, in-state residency requirement from law.
The bill was later vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in October 2007 prompting the Maternal and Child Health Access (MCH Access) to file suit in April 2008 seeking a court order to prevent the state from enforcing the requirement.
Hayashi serves the 18th State Assembly District, which includes Pleasanton, San Leandro, Hayward, Dublin and most of Castro Valley and a portion of Oakland, as well as the unincorporated areas of Ashland, Cherryland, San Lorenzo and Sunol.