With its latest bill, California has joined Washington, Montana, Vermont, and New Hampshire in allowing non-physicians to perform aspiration abortions, a common form of the procedure. But California's bill, signed yesterday, goes a bit farther than those states: Despite opposition from state Republicans, the bill allows not just nurse practitioners but also midwives and physician assistants the ability to perform the procedure—which terminates a pregnancy using a suction tube—during the first trimester, the New York Times reports.
"We are trending in a different direction, and we're very proud of it," says state assemblywoman and bill author Toni Atkins; 68 abortion restrictions passed in other states this year alone, according to a researcher. "This is an issue of accessibility," Atkins continues. "California is a very large state, and more than half the counties don’t have an abortion provider." Meanwhile, a Virginia lawsuit is seeking to overturn strict new building codes that could put many of the state's abortion clinics out of business, the Washington Post reports.