New legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown Wednesday will allow non-physicians to provide early term abortions to women. The bill is designed to make access to abortions easier for women in areas with lack of care.
Nurse practitioners, midwives and other non-physicians will be able to perform abortions under the new law. The legislation was introduced by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), over concern of the lack of physicians providing abortions in rural areas.
Tia Baratelle, of Six Rivers Planned Parenthood in Eureka, said the law is about giving women access to the same treatment.
"Nearly half of counties [in California] do not have an abortion provider. So this really is a way for women to get the care that they need in the time frame that they need," said Baratelle.
Opponents to the new bill worry that women will suffer because non-physicians won't be able to provide good enough care.
Bill Bertain, an attorney in Eureka is pro-life and said the new legislation will make more abortions possible.
"It's unfortunate that the legislature and a lot of our politicians don't understand the basic principles of maintaining respect for human life," said Bertain.
Six Rivers Planned Parenthood was part of a study conducted by UC San Francisco that found that complication rates of abortions performed by non-physicians were the same as when they were performed by doctors.
Baratelle said the legislation is a success for women's reproductive health issues.
"Bills are being introduced and legislation is being enacted that is restricting women's access to not only abortion care but contraception, annual exams and std testing and treatment," said Baratelle.