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California Lawmakers Consider Expanding Abortion Access

SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — While several states have placed new restrictions on abortion, a new bill would allow more health professionals in California to perform the procedure.

Planned Parenthood is backing a bill in Sacramento that would expand access to aspiration abortions in the first trimester of pregnancy. If it becomes law,  specially trained nurse practitioners, physician's assistants and certified nurse midwives would be allowed to perform the procedure. Currently, state law allows abortions only to be performed by a doctor.

Kathy Kneer, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of California said it's the most common abortion procedure and UCSF has done a trial study that demonstrates its safety.

KCBS' Janice Wright Reports:

"It's a very simple procedure with very few complications," she said.

Kneer added that there simply aren't enough doctors available to keep up with the demand for abortions, especially in rural areas.

"They have to travel very long distances sometimes and come to a city where there is a doctor," Kneer said.

Abortion opponents, including Camille Gilio with the California Right to Life Committee, are opposed.

"It is demeaning of respect to women as well as to the medical profession," she said.

Gilio's group also opposed to a separate bill that would allow nurses to dispense birth control. Both bills passed their initial committee hearings in the State Assembly on Tuesday.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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