Numerous states have recently proposed legislation that would forbid anyone other than a doctor from administering drugs that would induce an abortion. For vast states with few providers, the new rule would cut off access for hundreds of women facing unwanted pregnancies.
But California isn’t like other states. Instead, they are proposing making access to first trimester abortions easier.
San Diego Senator Christine Kehoe is proposing that medical practitioners such as physician assistants, midwives and nurse should be allowed to dispense the pills, too.
Local reproductive rights advocates, concerned that half of the state has no access to abortion providers, are thrilled at the idea. “With no local providers in their communities, many women have to find child care, borrow money for bus fare, and find a place to stay while they receive care,” says Ana Rodriguez, who heads of ACCESS Women’s Health Justice. “No one should have to overcome these types of hurdles to access a simple, safe and legal medical procedure.
Opponents accuse the senator of wanting to return women to a time of “back alley abortion” by allowing non-doctors to perform the procedure. ““That’s pretty aggressive,” [Assemblyman Brian Jones] said. “My immediate question is where and how are they going to do these procedures. It sounds like they want to turn the clock back to the back ally practices they were against.”
And others worry that expanding access would allow women to not be forced into carrying to term. “Kehoe’s bill is a ploy by pro-choice advocates. It is wrapped in the paper of ‘access’ for rural or poor women and tied with the bow of ‘equal opportunity’. However, the true purpose of this bill is to increase abortions. Clearly, many women without easy access would choose to keep their baby instead of going through with an abortion. Often, the easier abortions become, the more they are performed, and this is exactly what Kehoe and her allies want.”
If the bill passes, it would be one of two bills to actually turn back the assault on abortion rights. The other, mandating insurance companies cover abortions in their policies, is currently being debated in Washington state.
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