(San Diego) AB 154, legislation carried by Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins, has passed its last significant legislative hurdle with today’s passage by the State Senate. This bill will include nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, and certified nurse midwives among the healthcare professionals authorized to perform early aspiration abortions after receiving training in the procedure. This expansion will help alleviate a shortage of abortion providers in California.
“All women should have timely access to reproductive healthcare regardless of whether they live in urban or rural areas and without excessive expense or travel,” says Atkins. “AB 154 will help fill the gap created by the fact that over half of California’s counties lack an abortion provider.”
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, California Church IMPACT, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice and Black Women for Wellness. The Alliance is dedicated to protecting and improving the reproductive health of California women. The bill is also supported by the California Medical Association.
AB 154 now returns briefly to the State Assembly for concurrence in amendments made in the Senate before moving to the Governor’s desk in the next several weeks.