California is the fifth state to allow or not explicitly ban the practice of non-physician abortion, joining Montana, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.
The bill, A.B. 154, introduced by San Diego Democrat Toni Atkins, would authorize midwives, nurse practitioners, and physicians’ assistants to perform first-trimester suction aspiration abortions.
A study conducted by Tracy Weitz, director of UC-San Francisco’s Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, found that abortions performed by non-physicians had twice the rate of complications as those performed by doctors. However, Dr. Weitz called the difference “clinically equivalent.”
The new law, which originally passed the General Assembly in May, cleared the State Senate last month by a near-party line vote of 25-11. Lou Correa of Anaheim was the only Senate Democrat to vote against the bill.
“The growing shortage of abortion providers creates a significant barrier for women,” said State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.