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Nurse Practitioners in CA may soon perform abortions without a doctor’s supervision

CBS 8 San Diego, March 3, 2022

By LaMonica Peters (KFMB)

SAN DIEGO — Nurse Practitioners in California may soon have the authority to perform abortions independently of medical doctors. Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins from San Diego introduced the bill to clarify laws already on the books.

Senator Atkins and the California Association for Nurse Practitioners say Senate Bill 1375 will help expand access to abortion, which they say has recently been under heavy scrutiny across the country.

Senator Atkins has been at the forefront of sponsoring legislation for early abortion access in California. In 2013, she sponsored Assembly Bill 154, which gave nurse practitioners, certified midwives and doctor’s assistants the ability to perform abortions.

“This new bill would allow Nurse Practitioners to do abortions independently of a doctor. There’s already been legislation years ago that allowed Nurse Practitioners and others to do abortions so, this it’s not covering new territory. It’s allowing Nurse Practitioners who are trained to do this, to do this but to do it independently,” said Andrew Acosta, Spokesperson for the California Association for Nurse Practitioners.

In a statement, Atkins says SB 1375 will not only expand early abortion access but also increase affordability for abortion services, especially for marginalized and lower-income communities.

“Her focus is that we are under attack, and we see what’s happening in other states. We know people are coming from other states to get services here. There are going to be other bills that are on this topic that are going to be introduced but this is the first of probably a package of bills, to increase access across the board for both women in California and for women who come from other states,” said Acosta.

Acosta says there are 30,000 Nurse Practitioners in California who are already providing healthcare services equivalent to medical doctors. He says the pandemic only highlighted the need for more healthcare providers and this bill will help more people get the care they need.

“They have practiced independently for years in other states. It works great and this is just a continuum of that care and giving broader access for Californians, who are desperately at times, struggling to find access, finding a doctor. All the things that we know are true out in the real world today,” Acosta said.

Atkins also noted that the Health Workforce Commission says within the next decade, California will face a shortage of more than 4,100 primary care clinicians.

Link to article on CBS 8

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