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. (Read more abortion clinics stories.)