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Gov. Brown signs two bills expanding abortion access

October 9, 2013 | Abortion, Legislation Watch
Governor Brown Signing Bill

‘CA can serve as a model for the nation’

SACRAMENTO – With the stroke of his pen, Gov. Jerry Brown today improved reproductive health access for thousands of women in California, bucking the national trend to limit women’s health programs and abortion access. Gov. Brown signed two bills, AB 154 and AB 980, which together improve abortion access so women can receive care from providers they trust in their own communities.

Authored by Assembly Majority Floor Leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), AB 154 broadens access by allowing specially-trained nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to perform early abortions within the terms of their licenses.  AB 980, authored by Assemblymember Richard Pan, M.D., eliminates several arcane regulations tied to abortion care and ensures that all primary care clinics in the state, including those that provide abortion care, are held to the same standards.

“Governor Brown has always been a champion for women’s reproductive health and he’s proved it once again,” said Kathy Kneer, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “His signing of these bills comes at a critical time when other states and the Congress are moving to restrict access to reproductive health care. Last year, 43 states moved to restrict abortion access.  We hope that California can serve as a model for the nation and help stem the tide of regressive reproductive health laws.”

Although California has a long history of supporting access to care, more than half of California's counties still lack an accessible abortion provider, according to the Guttmacher Institute. As a result, many women delay treatment because they have to travel long distances or raise money for transportation and services. When it becomes law in January, AB 154 will also overcome other barriers such as long wait times for appointments that woman in urban areas face when seeking abortion services.

“California is showing the rest of the country that this is not the time to go backwards on access to safe and legal abortion, “ said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This is an important step toward ensuring politics and geography cannot interfere with the medical decisions that belong to a woman and her health care provider.  Gov. Jerry Brown signing these two bills into law at a time when Planned Parenthood organizations are fighting in statehouses and courthouses across the country against policies that would take women back to the 1950s makes this victory for California women all the more important.”

The bill is based on a six-year study conducted by the University of California at San Francisco, and published in the American Journal of Public Health in January. The study showed that specially trained nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants can safely provide high quality early abortion care.

AB 980 would repeal state regulations that single out abortion providers for different and more costly rules and standards. Many of these regulations are more than 30 years old and out-of-sync with current law and accepted medical standards of care.

“Planned Parenthood applauds the leadership of Assembly Members Toni Atkins and Dr. Richard Pan for passing these important bills that help so many women throughout California,” said Kneer.

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Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) is the state public policy office representing California’s seven separately incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates. Through advocacy and electoral action, PPAC promotes sound public policy in areas of reproductive and preventive health care, family planning and comprehensive sexual health education.

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