Jerry Brown Bucks the National Trend: Nurses and Midwives Can Now Perform Abortions in California

What Women Really Think
Oct. 10 2013 10:42 AM

Jerry Brown Bucks the National Trend: Nurses and Midwives Can Now Perform Abortions in California

182999134
Jerry Brown just signs progressive legislation all day long.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With so many states moving to make safe abortion more difficult, if not impossible, for many women to get, California officially made a big move in the other direction Wednesday. Gov. Jerry Brown, who is on a roll lately, signed a new law allowing nurse practitioners, midwives, and physician assistants to perform first-trimester aspiration abortions, a procedure previously restricted to doctors. In other news, many punk rock fans who used to laugh at the lyrics of the Dead Kennedys' "California Über Alles" are considering writing apology letters to Brown. (Still a good song.) 

According to MSNBC's Irin Carmon, low-income women are more likely to turn to nurse practitioners and physician assistants for medical care than to gynecologists. Because of this, it will be easier for these women to simply find an abortion provider, especially for earlier abortions, which are safer and more affordable. 

Advertisement

There are exactly zero reasons to be concerned that this is unsafe. Even though anti-choicers in other states have been busy propping up the illusion that abortion is a dangerous procedure by passing laws requiring it to be performed in ambulatory surgical centers and for doctors to have hospital admitting privileges, the reality is that aspiration abortion is a quick and easy procedure that doesn't require making an incision. Researchers at Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) from the University of California–San Francisco, performed a six-year study in training nurse practitioners, midwives, and physician assistants to perform these abortions and found that they had complication rates similar to doctors, which are much lower than the alternative complications of unwanted childbirth

When reporting on the new law, for some reason the New York Times found it necessary to interview Brian Johnston, who is neither a medical expert nor a public health policy expert, but who runs an anti-choice group in western California. "For those who say they care about women’s health, they’re doing the opposite, reducing the medical standards for abortion,” Johnston told the paper, worrying as one does about the safety of women his website compares to Nazis committing genocide. Of course, as the ANSIRH study shows, these standards do no such thing. Abortion continues to be 14 times less deadly than childbirth

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.