Reproductive Justice & Gender Equity

Protect Family Integrity (AB 3170)

Introduced

Every pregnant person in California should have the right to dignified medical care and support without fear of facing penalties, including losing custody of their children. Unfortunately, there is widespread discriminatory drug testing and screening of parents of color and their babies, often for no medical reason and without parents’ knowledge or consent. Though the law explicitly does not require health institutions to refer these families to child welfare agencies, they often do, leading to dire consequences of family separation that harms children more than helps them.

The separation of infants from their parents is proven to cause long-term damage to the birthing parent and the infant both physically and emotionally. The routine targeting of Black, Indigenous, and other birthing people of color for drug and alcohol testing and reporting is deeply rooted in systemic racism and unfounded stereotypes despite studies showing that the rates of substance use are largely the same across racial and ethnic groups.

AB 3170 will protect family integrity by preventing harmful and racially discriminatory referrals to the family policing system following invasive drug testing of birthing parents and babies.

Principal bill author: Assemblymember Liz Ortega (D-Hayward)

Co-sponsors:

  • A New Way of Life
  • ACLU California Action
  • Black Women for Wellness Action Project
  • California Latinas for Reproductive Justice
  • Drug Policy Alliance
  • Families Inspiring Reentry & Reunification 4 Everyone
  • Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers
  • Western Center on Law and Poverty

Bill text