Earlier this week the California Senate approved Bill AB154 which would allow nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to perform aspiration abortions during the first trimesters. An aspiration abortion involves inserting a tube and using suction to terminate a pregnancy. The bill is now one step away from the governor. The measure backed by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, received a 25-11 vote.
From the Associated Press:
Expanding the list of professionals who can perform those types of abortions would help make them available in areas that have few doctors, said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, who carried the measure in the Senate. She said about half of California counties lack abortion providers.
“All women deserve access to care in their local communities,” she said.
The procedure is safest when performed early, yet women in rural areas often have difficulty arranging for and traveling to a provider, she said.Several Republicans objected to the expansion, saying it would increase medical risks for patients.
“Abortion is a serious medical procedure with vast complications, and I would argue that only the best-trained should conduct such an operation,” said Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber. “It has direct and profound impact on lives: the mother and the baby — and there is a baby.”
If the bill is passed, California will follow in the footsteps of Oregon, Montana, Vermont and New Hampshire where nurse practitioners are already allowed to perform aspiration abortions.