California Senate Votes to Expand Abortion Access Statewide

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SACRAMENTO – Today the California Senate passed AB 154 – the Early Access to Abortion bill – by a vote of 25-11. The bill will soon move to Gov. Brown. Authored by Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), AB 154 would improve abortion access across the state for women who need it. The bill would authorize trained nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants to perform early abortions safely within the terms of their licenses.

“Access to healthcare should not depend on where you live. 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. AB 154 helps address this shortage and will make early abortions available to women by trained professionals in a timely fashion and in their own communities,” said Assemblymember Atkins.

“Thousands of women call our Healthline because they need help getting access to abortion care and are forced to travel hundreds of miles when they can't find it in their communities,” said Samara Azam-Yu, Executive Director of ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, an Oakland-based organization serving the whole state.

More than half of California's counties 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. AB 154 can also help overcome other barriers such as long wait times for appointments that woman in urban areas face when seeking abortion services.

This important legislation comes at a time when other states and Congress are moving to restrict access to reproductive health care. Last year, 43 states moved to restrict abortion access.  More than 30 organizations have come together as the California Women’s Health Alliance to support AB 154 and ensure that California moves in the direction of expanding health care access.

“Latinas and other women all over California will be able to continue care with the providers that they know and trust and will be spared the extra time and expense of traveling to get services in other cities,” said Laura Jimenez, Executive Director of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice.

AB 154 removes barriers to care by allowing specially trained health professionals to provide early abortions in the communities they serve.  This means that women can safely get the care they need in their own communities from health providers they already know and trust.

study conducted at UCSF and published in the American Journal of Public Health in January showed that specially trained nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants can safely provide high quality early abortion care.

AB 154 is sponsored by ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, ACLU of California, Black Women for Wellness, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, NARAL Pro-Choice California, and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. The bill is supported by the California Women’s Health Alliance, which comprises more than 30 women’s health and rights groups that support improving access to women’s reproductive health care.

The California Women’s Health Alliance comprises more than 30 organizations that are dedicated to protecting and improving women’s reproductive health in the state.

California Women’s Health Alliance members:

ACCESS Women's Health Justice, ACLU of California, ACT for Women and Girls, American Nurses Association/California, Bay Area Communities for Health Education, Black Women for Wellness, Business & Professional Women of Nevada County, California Church IMPACT, California Family Health Council, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, California Nurse-Midwives Association, California Women's Law Center, Cardea Institute, Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice, Choice USA, Forward Together, Fresno Barrios Unidos, Khmer Girls in Action, League of Women Voters of California, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Abortion Federation, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Council of Jewish Women - California,  National Health Law Program, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, National Network of Abortion Funds, Nevada County Citizens for Choice, Nursing Students for Choice, Physicians for Reproductive Health, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, Reproductive Justice Coalition of Los Angeles, Women's Community Clinic, Women's Health Specialists of California

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