Some recent efforts to protect reproductive rights at the state level have not been immediately successful. A bill in Washington state that would have required all insurance policies that cover maternity care to offer coverage of safe abortion care as well, but was tabled in committee. The Reproductive Health Act in New York was introduced with great fanfare but hasn’t made much movement in the actual legislature.
Now California is taking its turn. A bill that would allow medical professionals such as nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants to be trained to perform early abortion procedures has made it out of committee and will head to the state assembly for a full vote, according to the Sacramento Bee. Under the bill, these medical professionals could be trained in first trimester aspiration abortion techniques, and would be able to offer their services to patients in place of the OB-GYNs who typically perform abortions.
Last year, state Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) proposed a similar bill, but the original version of that bill got stuck in committee. A less expansive bill that did little beyond extend the training program eventually made it into law, but did not do as much to address the need for greater access to safe abortion care across the state, especially in rural communities that lack providers. This year’s version would further expand the program to train more potential providers.