Statements on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Approval of the First Nonprescription Daily Oral Contraceptive

SACRAMENTO – California Surgeon General Dr. Diana Ramos and California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom released the following statements in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the first nonprescription daily oral contraceptive: 

“California applauds the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s action to approve the first over-the-counter birth control medication,” said California Surgeon General Dr. Diana Ramos. “This is a landmark announcement and an important step forward in our collective work to expand equitable access to reproductive health care.”

“Reproductive rights have been under a coordinated attack by a conservative Supreme Court and states that continue to roll back the right to an abortion,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “Over-the-counter birth control medication is a major step by the FDA to expand access to contraception and ensure women have more control over their fates and family decisions.”

Background: Since the Dobbs decision draft was leaked, California has stepped up to lead the way in protecting access to reproductive freedom for people in California and for those who travel to California to access this essential health care:

  • May 2022: Governor Newsom, President pro Tempore Atkins, and Speaker Rendon announced an amendment to California’s Constitution to protect the right to an abortion and contraception, the same day the draft Dobbs decision leaked.
  • June 2022, Governor Newsom:
    • Signed legislation to help protect patients and providers in California against radical attempts by other states to extend their anti-abortion laws into California, on the same day Roe v. Wade was overturned.
    • Invested over $200 million in reproductive health care. A large amount of these funds have already been disbursed for a variety of community efforts to maintain and increase reproductive health care services.
    • Issued an Executive Order protecting all state-held data and information from being used by out-of-state anti-abortion groups to target providers and patients.
    • Joined the governors of Oregon and Washington to launch a new Multi-State Commitment to defend access to reproductive health care and protect patients and providers.
  • September 2022: 
    • Governor Newsom launched Abortion.CA.Gov to ensure people across California, and the country, can access essential information regarding reproductive health care, including resources available to support access to care.
    • Governor Newsom, working with the Legislature, ensured California passed the largest reproductive freedom bill package in state history, building firewalls around California as a reproductive freedom state.
  • November 2022: Governor Newsom posthumously pardoned California abortion provider Laura Miner as a powerful reminder of the generations of people who fought for reproductive freedom in this country.
  • December 2022: After overwhelming support by California voters, Proposition 1, an amendment to the state constitution backed by Governor Newsom enshrining the right to reproductive freedom–including abortion care and contraception–went into effect.
  • January 2023: First Partner Siebel Newsom joined reproductive rights leaders on the steps of the California Capitol to talk about the importance of storytelling, uplifting voices, and sharing lived-experiences when it comes to the fight for reproductive freedom.
  • February 2023: Governor Newsom launched the Reproductive Freedom Alliance, a coalition of 22 Governors fighting to protect and advance reproductive freedom.
  • March 2023: Governor Newsom joined 14 governors calling on major pharmacies to clarify plans on dispensing Mifepristone and other actions they plan to take to safeguard access to reproductive health care.
  • April 2023: Governor Newsom procured an emergency stockpile of Misoprostol, a medication abortion drug, as legal challenges continue to move through the courts in an attempt to block this critical health care. The stockpile will help to ensure patients can continue to get medication abortion care without disruption.
  • May 2023: First Partner Siebel Newsom spoke with the California Legislative Women’s Caucus about the State’s efforts to protect reproductive freedom.