California, led by Governor Jerry Brown, is proudly championing abortion with even more expanded access, unlike other states that are now placing restrictions on the procedure. On Wednesday, Brown signed a bill allowing nurse practitioners, midwives, and physician assistants to perform aspiration abortions during the first trimester, making California the only state in the country to expand access to abortions in 2013.
While Washington, Montana, Vermont, and New Hampshire allow such abortions to be performed by nurse practitioners, California is the first state to allow midwives and physician assistants to perform them, too.
Toni Atkins, the state assemblywoman who wrote the bill, boasted, “We are trending in a different direction, and we’re very proud of it. California has a strong history of support for reproductive health care for women. This is an issue of accessibility. California is a very large state, and more than half the counties don’t have an abortion provider.”
Dr. Tracy Weitz, who led the pilot program at the University of California, San Francisco, which allowed roughly 8,000 aspiration abortions performed by non-doctors since 2007, said:
This is a very safe procedure, and we now have a very large study to show that this does not compromise safety. Most people saying it compromises safety actually have an agenda to make abortion illegal, which we know from decades of experience actually makes abortion unsafe. Hopefully this will give women more options early in their first trimesters, when we know abortion is safest. And the second trimester, when it is more complicated, will remain in the domain of physicians.
Weitz is also on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California.
But Brian Johnston, director of the National Right to Life’s Western regional office, angrily responded, “This bill trivializes what is taking place with abortion. It will massively expand the number of abortions and at the same time reduce safety. For those who say they care about women’s health, they’re doing the opposite, reducing the medical standards for abortion.”