California's State Assembly passed a bill this week that would require all hospitals and prisons to provide plant-based meals to patients upon request.
Passed with a 69 to 9 vote, Bill SB 1138 specifies that meals would need to be completely free of animal products - accommodating what the bill's author Senator Nancy Skinner calls 'a basic human right'.
In a written statement, Sen. Skinner said: "By guaranteeing access to plant-based food, SB 1138 respects the health, ethical and diet choices of those in hospitals or other institutions who don’t have the option to prepare their own meals."
Medical authorities, such as the American Medical Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) have all shown support for the proposal - which will require approval from Governer Jerry Brown to become a law.
The PCRM's Director of Nutrition Education, Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., said: "Providing plant-based meals won't just help patients and prisoners fight obesity, diabetes, and heart disease; it could save hospitals and prisons thousands of dollars a year."