September 24, 2012 — California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Saturday signed 25 health related bills, including one bill allowing registered nurses to dispense contraceptives, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The contraception-dispensing bill (AB 2348) establishes a standardized procedure under which RNs can dispense hormonal contraceptives. The bill, introduced by Assembly member Holly Mitchell (D), "also allows RNs to dispense drugs and devices upon an order by a certified nurse-midwife, a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant while functioning within specified clinic settings," according to the governor's office. The law takes effect Jan. 1.
Brown called the bill a reaffirmation of "every woman's basic constitutional rights" (McGreevy/Bloomekatz, Los Angeles Times, 9/23). He added, "Instead of shrinking back and trying to take away women's health care services or birth control, we're empowering women, and we do it proudly" (Smith, Sacramento Bee, 9/24).
Mitchell said the bill would ease access to birth control for women in rural areas with shortages of health care providers. Kathy Kneer -- president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California -- said, "By using RNs to the full ability of their training, ... we're freeing up space for women who have higher risk conditions to see a nurse practitioner or physician" (Abdollah, KPCC, 9/22).
The bill is opposed by the California Nurses Association, which said it could lead to decreases in care quality for low-income women (Sacramento Bee, 9/24).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.