A new law approved by the California state senate would expand access to abortion services
Proposed Calif. Law Would Allow Non-Physicians to Perform Abortions
The Slatest
Your News Companion
Aug. 28 2013 8:28 PM

Proposed Calif. Law Would Allow Non-Physicians to Perform Abortions

Members of the 'Planned Parenthood' women's rights group protest against the 'Stupak Ammendment' which they say will ban private abortion coverage for millions of American women, outside the Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles on November 20, 2009.

Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

California is primed to counter a national trend of states restricting abortions with a proposed law that would expand women’s access to the procedure. The new bill, which was approved by the state senate on Monday, would allow nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants and certified nurse midwives to perform abortions within the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. The bill is expected to be approved by the state assembly this week.

The law would make California the fifth state to allow non-physician abortions, joining Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon and Vermont. Proponents of the bill say the aim is to provide access for women in rural areas. Half of the counties in California do not have a physician to perform abortions. According to a University of California-San Francisco study, 87 percent of counties in the U.S. do not have local abortion facilities.


Bloomberg reports that a “University of California study published in January in the American Journal of Public Health found that complications from abortions by nurse practitioners, nurse midwives or physician’s assistants were 'clinically equivalent' to those performed by doctors.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter.