January 24, 2013 — A California bill (AB 154) introduced on Tuesday seeks to expand abortion access by allowing qualified medical professionals, including certain nurses and midwives, to provide non-surgical early abortions, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports.
The bill -- authored by Assembly member Toni Atkins (D) -- revives last year's effort to pass a bill allowing more non-physician clinicians to provide abortions. At a press conference on Tuesday, proponents of the bill said 52% of California counties do not have an abortion provider other than hospitals, which often offer limited services.
Although Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed last year's measure (SB 623) into law, it only applies to clinicians trained through a certain pilot program before Jan. 1, 2014. Results of a recent multiyear study of the pilot program, which were recently published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that trained nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified nurse midwives can safely perform early abortions.
Last year, the California Nurses Association said it would be premature to expand beyond the pilot program until the study results were complete. CNA is still deciding its position on this year's bill, said Bonnie Castillo, the group's government relations director (White, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 1/22).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership