SAN DIEGO – Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), fellow legislators, and reproductive rights leaders from across the state gathered in San Diego today to celebrate Pro Tem Atkins’ bill, SB 1375 being signed into law, as well as the more than a dozen additional pieces of legislation from the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. These laws will work in concert to shore up reproductive rights in California, expanding and protecting access to reproductive health for all who need it.
“Over the last year, we have seen in the Supreme Court and in state houses across the nation what we have always feared: our reproductive freedom is not guaranteed. Together, the Legislative Women’s Caucus and our partners in the Future of Abortion Council have shown that in California, abortion is health care, plain and simple, and we will stand beside patients and providers,” said Pro Tem Atkins. “The package of legislation we championed this session ensures that all people who seek essential reproductive care in our state will be able to access it in an affordable and timely manner. We will not leave Californians or anyone who comes here vulnerable to the whims of a dangerous minority who think a uterus makes someone incapable of making medical decisions about their own body.”
Pro Tem Atkins’ SB 1375, which was signed into law on September 27, will allow qualified nurse practitioners and certified nurse-midwives to provide first trimester abortions within the scope of their clinical and professional education and training without the supervision of a physician. SB 1375 will widen access to, and affordability of, abortion services and healthcare by increasing the number of nurse practitioners and certified nurse-midwives able to provide critically-needed care, especially in marginalized and lower-income communities.
The bill follows Pro Tem Atkins’ AB 154, which became law in 2013 and allows qualifying advanced practice providers to provide first trimester abortions under the supervision of a physician. It also follows AB 890 (2020), which Assemblymember Jim Wood (D- Santa Rosa) authored to create opportunities for qualifying nurse practitioners to provide patient care without doctor supervision.
“The California Association for Nurse Practitioners is committed to ensuring that women and all Californians have access to the timely, high-quality reproductive care and abortion services they need. CANP is proud to have sponsored SB 1375, working with Pro Tem Atkins to clarify existing laws so that trained and experienced nurse practitioners can provide this critically needed care without physician supervision,” said Cynthia Jovanov, DNP, MBA, FNP-BC, ACNP-BC, President of the California Association for Nurse Practitioners. “We applaud Governor Gavin Newsom, bill author and champion for reproductive health Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, and members of the California State Legislature for their leadership and commitment to expanding access and making California a safer place for those in need of care. Nurse practitioners will continue to advocate for legislation that bridges health care needs for communities and patients across California.”
In addition to signing SB 1375, Governor Newsom also signed more than a dozen bills from the Legislative Women’s Caucus’s Reproductive Justice Policy Priority Package, each of which are in keeping with recommendations outlined by the California Future of Abortion Council to address barriers to reproductive health care and support equitable and affordable access to abortion in the state. The 2022-23 state budget also includes more than $200 million in key reproductive rights investments. Earlier this year, Pro Tem Atkins also led efforts to author a constitutional amendment to explicitly protect the right to abortion and contraception in the California State Constitution. SCA 10 was passed by the Legislature on June 27 and will go before voters in November as Proposition 1.
“A right without access is just an empty promise. As a Latina from a traditionally marginalized community, I have seen firsthand how lack of access to qualified health professionals disproportionately affects communities like mine and creates a broken promise to communities of color, low-income communities, trans, and other marginalized communities across California,” said Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D- Bell Gardens), chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. “I commend Senate Pro Tem Atkins on SB 1375, which will help to increase access to first trimester abortions in all communities, save lives, and helps fulfill our promise to be a reproductive freedom state for all.”
“A year ago, as threats against abortion rights deepened around the nation, the California Legislative Women’s Caucus acted decisively,” said Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), chair of the Senate Budget Committee and vice chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. “We partnered with the Future of Abortion Council to propose new laws that would not only strengthen Californians’ reproductive rights, but also ensure our state is the national leader for reproductive freedom. So when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, jeopardizing the health and well-being of women across the nation, we were prepared. And now with our reproductive justice bills signed into law, and California voters poised to pass Proposition 1, California has demonstrated once again we are the leader for abortion and reproductive care.”
“California is a reproductive freedom state. We understand that access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare is fundamental to providing quality healthcare overall. This is why my bill, AB 2134: The California Abortion and Reproductive Equity (CARE) Act, is so critical. By providing grant funding for safety net providers who offer abortion and contraceptive services to those who lack coverage and cannot pay the out-of-pocket fees, we are increasing access, improving health outcomes and eliminating health disparities,” said Assemblymember Dr. Akilah Weber (D-La Mesa). “Today’s show of solidarity by my legislative colleagues and long-time reproductive rights advocates demonstrates California’s commitment to expand and protect a woman’s right to choose; thereby also improving the health of all Californians.”
“California is leading the way in protecting and expanding access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. SB 1375 increases access to affordable and high-quality abortion care in California, and will remove barriers to accessing abortion training for nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives, giving more medical providers the ability to provide abortion care, ensuring that more people get the health care that they need and deserve,” said Jodi Hicks, CEO and President of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, and Darrah Johnson, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest in a joint statement. “This legislation, and broader historic effort by the California legislature, is not only critical as more states across the country enact dangerous abortion bans and restrictions, but essential for increasing access to health care in rural communities and communities of color across California. Increasing access to abortion training will help Californians everywhere, as well as those traveling to California to access safe and legal abortion care. We are so grateful for Senate President Pro Tem Atkins’ leadership and life-long commitment to championing reproductive health and rights.”
“On behalf of our over 371,000 NARAL Pro-Choice California members, I want to thank Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins for her tremendous leadership championing reproductive freedom and ensuring that California lives up to our values, and national leadership as a Reproductive Freedom State,” said Shannon Olivieri Hovis, Director or NARAL Pro-Choice California. “We made sure that the 2022 California legislative session was one for the history books. Together, we passed the entire CA Future of Abortion Council bill package, secured $205 million to advance reproductive freedom in this year’s state budget, and put Proposition 1 on the November ballot so that Californians have the opportunity to vote to secure the right to abortion and contraception in our state constitution. At a time when extremist, anti-choice lawmakers across the country are trying to destroy our basic freedoms, California is leading the way. The work continues, and we look forward to what’s next to come.”
“The ACLU and our supporters will never stop organizing, advocating and working to build a California where all people – including people who may seek refuge here – have the power and resources to make decisions about their own bodies,” said Norma Chavez-Peterson, Executive Director, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties.
Toni G. Atkins is President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Having previously served as Speaker of the California Assembly, she began her tenure in the Senate in 2016. As Senator for District 39, she represents the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: www.senate.ca.gov/Atkins