California May Let Non-Physicians Perform Abortions

Bill on governor's desk makes them less restrictive
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2013 2:52 PM CDT
Calif. Looks to Make Abortion Less Restrictive
Assemblywoman Toni Atkins urged lawmakers to approve her bill to allow non-physicians to perform a type of abortion in the first trimester.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

While states like Texas and North Carolina move to make abortion ever more restrictive, California seems to be headed in the opposite direction. State lawmakers recently passed a bill that would allow early abortions to be performed by non-physicians, like nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physicians' assistants, the LA Times reports. They are already allowed to administer medicine-induced abortions, but if the bill is approved by the governor, they will also be able to perform "aspiration abortions" in the first trimester, where pregnancies are terminated via a suction tube, the AP reports.

State Republicans, who opposed the bill, have raised concerns that the law would "lower the standard of care for women," reports the Times. "Regardless of where you stand in the abortion debate, all of us should be concerned about the practical effects of allowing non-doctors to perform the procedure," said one Assemblywoman. But the California Medical Association, which usually isn't a fan of non-physicians doing medical procedures, supports the move and says it will be safe. If the bill is given the OK, California will join states like Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Vermont, which have similar laws. (More California stories.)

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