Senate Leader Atkins’ Bill to Expand Abortion, Reproductive Care Access Passes Senate

May 25, 2022

SACRAMENTO – SB 1375, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins’ (D-San Diego) legislation to increase access to affordable, quality abortion and reproductive care in California, was passed today by the California State Senate, moving the opportunity for more trained and qualified nurse practitioners to provide abortions without the supervision of a doctor one step closer to becoming law.

“While time seems to be moving backward in many states and the right to control our own bodies is being stolen from women and people across the country, this bill would propel our state forward in our efforts to provide essential, timely care to patients who need and deserve it,” said Pro Tem Atkins. “In California, the choice to have an abortion is the patient’s – and the patient’s alone – and SB 1375 would ensure that there are more qualified, skilled clinicians so that access and availability are never barriers to safe, affordable care.”

SB 1375 is one of several bills that comprise the Legislative Women’s Caucus reproductive health package of legislation, and is a critical component to California’s efforts to prepare and protect reproductive health in light of the impending Supreme Court decision that could destroy Roe v. Wade. Pro Tem Atkins also is leading efforts to introduce a constitutional amendment by June 30 that would explicitly provide the right to abortion in the California Constitution and shield the state from federal erosion of the right.

“California has long been a leader in reproductive rights, but the practical need to ensure real access is far from complete,” Pro Tem Atkins said. “This is about improving access for patients to critical services, and to the advanced clinicians who can provide that care. California is a leader in our respect to our right to privacy, and we can be at the leading edge of access in allowing trained providers to help patients with reproductive health services and abortions. This bill ensures that leadership will continue.”

SB 1375 passed three Senate committees with widespread support and passed the Senate by a 30-9 vote. The bill would clarify provisions set forth in law by Assemblymember Jim Wood’s AB 890 and Pro Tem Atkins’ own AB 154. In 2013, AB 154 expanded the type of healthcare providers, including nurse practitioners, who can perform first-term abortions with the supervision of a doctor. In 2020, AB 890 created opportunities for qualifying, trained nurse practitioners to care for patients without doctor supervision. SB 1375 would clarify existing law, ensuring that the two bills can work in unison and that nurse practitioners who practice independently can also perform first-term abortions without doctor supervision.

Nationwide, of the 13 states that currently allow trained nurse practitioners to provide aspiration abortions, nine states allow qualified nurse practitioners to practice the procedure without doctor supervision.

SB 1375 was amended as it came out of Senate Appropriations Committee to include provisions that remove barriers in current law that make it difficult for advanced practice clinicians to access training for abortion care.

The bill would help address the shortage of health care professionals projected for California and complements recommendations from the California Future of Abortion Council as a way to strengthen abortion and reproductive care. The bill would widen access and affordability to abortion services and healthcare by clarifying how the transition-to-practice requirement in AB 890 will be implemented, thereby increasing the number of nurse practitioners able to provide critically-needed care, especially for marginalized and lower-income communities.

A projection by the California Future of Health Workforce Commission, a statewide group of senior leaders across multiple sectors, found that within the next decade, California will face a shortfall of more than 4,100 primary care clinicians, with a disproportionate impact on the seven million Californians living in counties already experiencing shortfalls of primary care, dental care, or mental health care providers. The majority of populations in those federally-designated areas are Latino, Black, and Native American.

For more information about the bill and to read what others are saying about it, click here.


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Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: