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).
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.