California is often seen as the renegade state -- going left, when the other states go right. And so it seems, California is poised to do so again.
While, according to the Guttmacher Institute, over 40 laws (in less than two dozen states) have been passed restricting a woman's right to choose, California has passed a bill that would allow non-physicians to perform first-term abortions, reports the San Jose Mercury News.
The upcoming California AB-154, would permit nurse-practitioners, certified nurse-midwives or physician assistants, who are properly trained, to perform first trimester abortions using medication or aspiration techniques. AB-154 passed the California Assembly on May 28, 2013 with a vote of 50-25, and passed in the Senate on August 26, 2013 with a vote of 25-11.
The only thing standing between California AB-154 becoming law is Governor Jerry Brown's signature. The bill hasn't hit his desk because the Senate must still vote on some amendments; Governor Brown has a policy of not commenting on bills that have not been submitted to him yet. No one knows if Governor Brown will sign the bill, but the Governor has stated that he has "been an uncompromising champion of a woman's right to choose."
According to Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, besides California, New York and Washington are the only states that have attempted to expand access to abortions in 2013 -- and both attempts failed.
Instead, according to the San Jose Mercury News, the tide of the country seems to be going in the opposite direction with state laws restricting access to abortions including: (1) adopting or making stricter clinic regulations; (2) requiring abortion providers have hospital privileges; (3) banning abortions after the 22 week mark; (4) restricting abortion coverage in state health-insurance exchanges; and (5) banning doctors from giving remote guidance (over the phone) with respect to pregnancy-ending drugs.
President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, Kathy Kneer stated that California AB-154 "truly does signal a turn of the tide against these state restrictions all across the country. Hopefully this will send a message to go in the opposite direction."
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- Okla. Abortion Case: Amicus Argues in Favor of Restrictive Statute (FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog)