SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The state Senate has approved a bill that would allow nurses to dispense birth control, making it easier for women to get contraceptives at primary care clinics.
Lawmakers on Wednesday passed AB2348 by Democratic Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell on a 23-15 vote, sending it back to the Assembly for a final vote.
It would allow registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives to dispense the pill, patches and rings.
Democratic Sen. Kevin De Leon says the bill would reduce delays for women because the state is facing a physician shortage.
Republican Sen. Joel Anderson opposed it, saying nurses should have trained to become physicians if they wanted to dispense medications.
Anderson also said the bill would reduce medical standards, recalling a time when "abortions were committed with coat hangers in back alleys."
De Leon said supporters do not believe the bill will move the state backward. He called it an issue of timely access.