A bill introduced by state Senate Leader Toni Atkins to expand access to abortion and reproductive care in California passed 30-9 on Wednesday and heads to the Assembly.
Senate Bill 1375 was introduced in February amid new laws in other states limiting abortion and uncertainty over the future of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision nearly 50 years ago.
“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 Atkins, who represents coastal San Diego County and is president pro tempore of the Senate.
“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,” Atkins added.
Her bill would increase the number of nurse practitioners eligible to provide abortions and critically needed reproductive care, especially for marginalized and lower-income communities. It has widespread support from nursing associations.
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 future changes in federal law.