SB 1338 – Now More than Ever: Expand Reproductive Health Care

SACRAMENTO — While other states and Congress are moving to restrict reproductive health care, in California nursing and medical organizations, reproductive health advocates and women’s rights groups have come together to support legislation that would increase access to comprehensive reproductive health care in this state.

SB 1338, a bill authored by Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, would ensure women receive safe and early access to reproductive care by authorizing nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and physician assistants to perform early, safe abortions within the terms of their licenses. SB 1338, the Safe and Early Access bill, will be heard in Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee next week on Thursday April 26.

Please take action today – contact your Senator and urge a YES vote!

“California has a long history of standing up to ensure access to health care,” said Kehoe. “This year I hope that the California Legislature will continue leadership in protecting women’s health when it considers this law that will reduce barriers to abortion access.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a leading national organization that tracks abortion data, more than half of California’s counties lack an accessible abortion provider. As a result, many women delay treatment because they have to travel long distances or raise money for transportation and services. SB 1338 can also help overcome other barriers such as long wait times for appointments that woman in urban areas face when seeking health care services.

SB 1338 would remove these barriers to care by allowing specially trained health professionals to provide early, safe abortion services in the communities they serve. To date, more than 40 health professionals have been trained as part of a major, multi-year pilot project conducted by the University of California, San Francisco at numerous health centers across the state. Under this successful program, women received high quality care and reported that they were extremely satisfied with care by clinicians and doctors and preferred receiving care in their own communities.  These clinicians currently provide medication abortions as well as services like vasectomy and colonoscopy.

SB 1338 is sponsored by Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, the American Civil Liberties Union of California, ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, NARAL Pro-Choice California and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. It has the support of health organizations such as the California Medical Association, Service Employees International Union, California Academy of Physician Assistants, California Association of Nurse Practitioners, California Nurse Midwives Association, American Nurses Association of California, California Family Health Council, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health and Women’s Health Specialists California.

In 2011, lawmakers in other states introduced more than 1,100 reproductive health and rights-related provisions. Twenty-four states passed 92 provisions restricting access to abortion — nearly four times the amount passed in any previous year.

In contrast, California has a long history of supporting expanding access to women’s reproductive health. Affirming the importance Californians place on protecting women’s reproductive health and rights, recent polling by the Public Policy Institute of California showed overwhelming public support for a woman’s right to seek an abortion.

Please take action today.  You can help all California women have
access to safe and trusted reproductive health care.