(San Diego) The California State Assembly today passed legislation by Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins to address the shortage of trained healthcare providers who are permitted to perform first trimester abortions. AB 154 allows nurses, physician’s assistants, and nurse-midwives to perform aspiration abortions after receiving proper training. Currently, over half of California’s counties have no abortion provider, forcing women to travel long distances and experience long delays in accessing this critical healthcare procedure.
“Women need quality health care in their own communities and without excessive wait times,” says Atkins. “This is particularly true with abortion services, which are cheaper and less complicated earlier in a pregnancy. My bill improves the lives of women and their families.”
A recent comprehensive study conducted by the University of California San Francisco and published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that trained nurse practitioners, midwives and physicians assistants can safely provide early abortions and that women appreciate receiving care in their own communities. AB 154 includes stringent training and competency requirements for these practitioners.
The bill is sponsored by the California Women’s Health Alliance, a coalition of groups such as Planned Parenthood that is dedicated to protecting and improving the reproductive health of California women and will next be heard in the Assembly Health Committee. The bill is also supported by the California Medical Association.
AB 154 now moves to the State Senate for consideration.