California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Wednesday that expands access to abortion in the state. The bill, AB 154, allows trained nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to perform abortions during the first trimester.

This expansion will help alleviate a shortage of abortion providers in the state, where over half of the counties have no abortion provider. “Timely access to reproductive health services is critical to women’s health,” said Assemblymember Toni Atkins, who introduced the measure. “AB 154 will ensure that no woman has to travel excessively long distances or wait for long periods in order to obtain an early abortion. I appreciate Governor Brown’s support of women’s health.”

By expanding abortion access, California bucks the national trend of passing legislation that restricts abortion access. The New York Times reports that according to the Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, 68 restrictions on abortion have been passed by states so far this year.

Media Resources: California Legislative Information; Reuters 10/10/13; Feminist Newswire 9/3/13; Assemblymember Toni Atkins Press Release 10/9/13; The New York Times 10/10/13

This post was originally published on the Feminist Newswire. If you’d like, you can subscribe to the Feminist News digest for a weekly recap of our newswire stories.

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