Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

September 22, 2012
Jerry Brown signs abortion, mammogram bills

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation extending an ongoing pilot program allowing nurse practitioners and other clinicians to perform non-surgical abortions, his office announced this afternoon.

Senate Bill 623, by Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, was supported by Planned Parenthood and opposed by abortion rights opponents.

The bill extends until Jan. 1, 2014 a pilot program to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of allowing nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants to provide aspiration abortions.

Brown also signed Senate Bill 1538, by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, requiring facilities conducting mammography examinations to give special notice to patients who have dense breast that they may benefit from additional screening.

Simitian's office said language included in the notification was negotiated with Brown's office after the Democratic governor vetoed similar legislation last year.

"This is a life saver," Simitian said in a prepared statement. "I'm tremendously thankful for the Governor's support of this measure, and for his willingness to listen to and work with us on this issue over the past year."

September 22, 2012
Jerry Brown signs legislation expanding access to birth control

LOS ANGELES - Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation today allowing registered nurses to dispense birth control in clinics, depicting California as a place above recent controversies nationally about contraception.

"Instead of shrinking back and trying to take away women's health care services or birth control, we're empowering women, and we do it proudly," Brown said at a Planned Parenthood headquarters here. "Today, we're realizing the dream that women have a right to control their own destiny, not with some guys in the Legislature who think they know better."

Supporters of Assembly Bill 2348, by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, say it will improve access to birth control, especially in poor and rural areas, reducing unplanned pregnancies.

The legislation pitted non-union Planned Parenthood clinics and other health groups against the California Nurses Association. The influential nurses union, which has donated millions of dollars to Brown and his causes, had said the measure could result in poor women receiving lesser care.

"I would also just say as part of the chemistry of legislation, you'll find that allies become adversaries for certain bills," Brown said. "Generally speaking, the great family of progressive, thoughtful Democrats are on board, for the most part."

The bill signing came as debate continues nationally over an Obama administration policy requiring insurers to cover birth control for women.

Brown, speaking in the state's largest media market, criticized Republicans for their opposition to Mitchell's bill, while Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez lamented what he called a "fierce assault" on reproductive rights.

Pérez, D-Los Angeles, elicited groans when he offered as an example controversial remarks about rape last month by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, a Missouri congressman.


Capitol Alert Staff

Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee.

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert.

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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