California Gov. Davis Vetoes Bills Allowing Syringe Sale Without Prescription, Requiring HIV Testing of Pregnant Women
California Gov. Gray Davis (D) has vetoed the following HIV/AIDS-related bills:
AB 2930: Sponsored by Assembly member Roderick Wright (D), the bill would have required physicians to test all pregnant women for HIV before or at the time of delivery (Office of the Governor release, 9/29). Prenatal care providers are currently required to offer HIV testing, information, counseling and referral services to all clients. Wright's bill would have dropped the voluntary testing requirement and added HIV testing to the list of tests routinely performed on pregnant women. However, women would have been able to refuse HIV testing after receiving information on the test and existing treatments from the attending physician or if they had already tested positive for the virus (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/14). Davis said in a statement, "I support the goal of more testing, but I believe this bill represents a fundamental shift from voluntary testing toward a mandatory system, which may reduce an at-risk women's willingness to receive prenatal care. The current universal voluntary system seems to be working well" (Davis letter, 9/27).
- SB 1785: Sponsored by Sen. John Vasconcellos (D), the bill would have allowed licensed pharmacies to sell as many as 30 syringes without a prescription to people older than 18 in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis C (Associated Press, 10/1). State law currently requires a prescription to purchase syringes, except when used to inject adrenaline or insulin. Supporters of the bill said that the measure would have reduced the number of cases of HIV and other bloodborne diseases spread though shared needles, while opponents said that the legislation would have encouraged illegal drug use (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/28). According to the Associated Press, Davis vetoed the bill because it did not require a "one-on-one needle exchange," which is the design of needle distribution programs already authorized in the state (Associated Press, 10/1).