Senate Leader Atkins’ Bill to Expand Abortion Services, Health Care Passes First Assembly Committee
SACRAMENTO – Today, the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions passed SB 1375, a bill authored by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) to clarify existing law that allows nurse practitioners meeting specified criteria to practice without physician supervision, including first trimester abortion care.
“As the leaked Supreme Court majority draft opinion last month showed us, it is imperative that we prepare California for a reality without the protections of Roe v. Wade, and SB 1375 is a critical piece of the puzzle,” Pro Tem Atkins said. “Patients already need more access to health care providers and services, and if abortion access is eliminated at the federal level, than that need is going to grow exponentially. Nurse practitioners are highly skilled, qualified, and are ready and able to fill that need.”
SB 1375 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 care. The bill would widen access and affordability to abortion services and healthcare by increasing the number of nurse practitioners able to provide critically-needed care, especially for marginalized and lower-income communities.
The bill would clarify provisions set forth in law by Assemblymember Jim Wood’s AB 890 (2020) and Pro Tem Atkins’ AB 154 (2013). AB 890 authorizes nurse practitioners who meet certain requirements to practice without physician supervision, while AB 154 increased the types of trained health professionals who can provide early abortions by allowing nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants to perform early abortions safely within the terms of their licenses.
SB 1375 would update statutes relating to early abortion services to allow nurse practitioners qualified to practice independently to provide first trimester abortion care, thus creating a mechanism for thousands of experienced nurse practitioners in California to begin expanding access to patients in need of these services.
SB 1375 passed the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions in a 14-3 vote today, just one day after the Senate passed SCA 10, legislation jointly authored by Pro Tem Atkins and Speaker Anthony Rendon that would place a constitutional amendment on the November 2022 ballot to explicitly provide for the fundamental constitutional right to abortion and contraceptives.
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: www.senate.ca.gov/Atkins