This past Tuesday, the state Senate of California pushed through a new measure that would let specially trained nurse practitioners carry out abortions without the need for a supervising doctor to be present.
SB 1375, the legislation in question, would let nurse practitioners who have gone through very specific training carry out abortion procedures “by aspiration techniques” across the state without being supervised by a physician or surgeon.
Senate passes SB 1375 to review requirements for abortion training for nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, physicians assistants.
Also aims to address gaps in abortion access in areas served primarily by religiously affiliated hospitals.
— Ashley Zavala (@ZavalaA) August 30, 2022
Also known as a machine vacuum aspiration, an aspiration abortion is a procedure in which a physician makes use of a vacuum to forcibly remove the contents of a pregnant woman’s uterus, which ultimately removes the unborn fetus from her body with a suction device. The procedure can take on average three hours to finish if the woman in the procedure ie between four to ten weeks pregnant, but if she happens to be further along, the procedure would end up taking much longer, or she could even need to have the process done over multiple visits to the doctor’s office, as reported by UCSF Health. The website also made sure to highlight that most people who go through the procedure take medication for anxiety.
Manual vacuum aspiration is one of the types of abortion that is performed in early pregnancy. For the procedure, a syringe is utilized as the main suction device.
“As judges and lawmakers across the country continue to throw pregnant women into impossible and perilous positions, I am proud that California is resolutely moving in the opposite direction,” stated Senate President pro-Temper Toni Atkins.
“Abortion is health care—period. And like other medical decisions, it is a private conversation between patients and their health care providers. By expanding the number of nurse practitioners who can perform first trimester abortions, SB 1375 would give more people the ability to get the timely, essential care they need from a provider they know and trust,” expressed Atkins. “We need to do everything we can to ensure abortion care is not only protected, but expanded in California.”
After making it this far, the measure is slated to head over to the desk of Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom to be autographed. The bill is also intended to more available positions for people to carry out abortion procedures. California is now expecting to see a large influx of women from other states who are coming from states in which the procedure is restricted.
“California is facing a serious doctor shortage that is only anticipated to worsen over the next 10 years. It would leave countless women and families at great risk, but there is a solution in front of us—nurse practitioners,” stated Atkins. “We have a workforce of trained and experienced nurse practitioners across the state who are ready to help fill the provider gap. With SB 1375, we can ensure more patients have access the quality, affordable reproductive care they need and deserve.”