February 28, 2012 — California Sen. Christine Kehoe (D) on Friday introduced legislation (SB 1501) aimed at increasing the number of providers offering abortion care for women in remote areas, U-T San Diego reports.
The bill would authorize the state's estimated 16,000 trained nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to provide first-trimester abortions in outpatient clinics and doctor's offices. According to a report from the University of California-San Francisco Access Through Primary Care Initiatives program, current state law "create[s] confusion over who can provide" abortions. The report called for legislation to clarify the issue.
"There are large portions of the state where there are no, or few, providers," Kehoe said, adding, "The longer women wait, the more complicated the procedure can become." She also noted that the lack of providers forces many low-income women to travel large distances and miss work to obtain abortion care.
California Assembly member Brian Jones (R) said he will try to defeat the bill (Gardner, U-T San Diego, 2/24).