Assembly Passes Bill To Ensure Abortion Rights, Allow Nurses To Prescribe Mifepristone
The Assembly yesterday voted 44-23 to pass a bill (SB 1301) that would ensure that women in the state have access to legal abortions in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide, the Contra Costa Times reports (LaMar, Contra Costa Times, 8/20). The Reproductive Privacy Act, which the Senate passed in May, would mandate that "the state shall not interfere with a woman's fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to ... obtain an abortion," although the legislation would restrict abortion in cases where the fetus can survive outside of the womb (California Healthline, 8/13). The bill would replace "several inconsistent statutes" about abortion with protections "currently implied by court decisions concerning abortion but not written in law." The legislation also would allow nurses and other non-physician health care providers to prescribe mifepristone to induce a medical abortion. Opponents of the bill said that "loosening regulation" of medical abortion procedures could "end up harming women's safety and health," the Times reports (Contra Costa Times, 8/20). However, Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Encino), who sponsored the bill, said that the legislation would require the state to treat mifepristone the "same as all the other [prescription] drugs in the same classification with the same risks" (English, Contra Costa Times, 8/19). A spokesperson for Gov. Gray Davis (D) said that the administration "has been working with the [bill's] author since January," adding that the governor supports bill. The Times reports that Davis will likely to sign the bill into law (Contra Costa Times, 8/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.