While other states are busy passing legislation restricting abortion access, my elected governor, Governor Jerry Brown of California, just signed a bill, AB 154 that creates easier access to early abortion for women in California.
Assemblywoman Toni Atkins sponsored the bill which allows non-physician practitioners to perform the early abortion procedure called aspiration. These practitioners include midwives, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Reuters broke the story, “California enacts law allowing nurses to perform some abortions,” on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 that spells out the background.
At a time when states all over the country are passing legislative restriction to a woman’s right to choose, California is the first to increase access by codifying the law. This is important to women and could set a precedent when GOP leaders push a revisit of Roe V. Wade. According to an article in the New York Times, Elizabeth Nash, an issues manager for Guttmacher Institute, states in her research that there have been 68 restrictive laws passed in other states.
In a time when it seems that attacks on women’s rights and their health is on a non-stop level, California does the opposite. When a woman becomes pregnant, it is not a minor inconvenience but a life changing event. The father can simply walk away and sign over his rights. He is done and bears no responsibility. The mother carries the infant for nine months while she experiences more than an inconvenience. She experiences pain and discomfort. Her body changes drastically. If the pregnancy is unwanted, the effects are felt emotionally at a much greater level. Even those that dream of having children experience more than a mild inconvenience.
The mother is the one giving birth and taking care of the baby through it all. She is the one who, through consensual sex (because she is, after all, human) became pregnant, has the most to lose and the greatest and most difficult decision of her life. This decision must be between the mother and her physician not up to some politician who has no medical degree and no idea of the biological changes involved. The impetus of Roe v. Wade was based on the Privacy Clause of the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that is where all of America needs to remember the argument was decided within the halls of judicial review by the Supreme Court.
Kudos to you, Governor Brown, for being committed to women’s rights when it is not a popular stand. And thank you for being brave, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, for doing what’s right.