The supposed goal of A.B. 154, sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, is to make the procedure more accessible in areas where abortionists don't usually set up shop, like in rural parts of the state or inner-city areas.
“Access to healthcare should not depend on where you live,” said Atkins in a statement before passage of the measure. “For rural women or those in heavily populated urban areas, a shortage of abortion providers can mean burdensome travel or long waits to be treated.” She insisted that the bill “helps address this shortage and will make early abortions available to women by trained professionals in a timely fashion and in their own communities.”
Previous California law, the bill's text states, made it “a public offense, punishable by a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment, or both, for a person to perform or assist in performing a surgical abortion if the person does not have a valid license to practice as a physician and surgeon.”
Under the new law nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants will be allowed to perform first-trimester “aspiration” abortions, in which a pre-born baby is ripped, piece-by-piece, from his mother's womb with an apparatus not unlike a powerful vacuum cleaner.
Atkins insisted that “increasing the number of trained healthcare providers who can perform abortions on a timely basis without requiring significant travel will improve the lives of women and their families in many ways.”
Oregon, Montana, Vermont, and New Hampshire also allow nurse practitioners, midwives, and physician assistants to perform suction abortions, while, previous to passing the law, California only allowed those medical professionals to administer drug-induced abortions.
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Photo of Gov. Jerry Brown: AP Images