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California State Senator Christine Kehoe of San Diego introduced a bill last Friday that would allow nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurse midwives to perform early term abortions during a woman’s first trimester of pregnancy.

Reaction to Senate Bill 1501 has been swift, with supporters and opponents clashing in their initial statements.

“SB 1501 will ensure that all women have access to providers they know and trust in the communities where they live,” said Kehoe, noting that over half of California’s counties currently have no abortion providers.

“We believe it will give many California women access to earlier, safer procedures in the first trimester of their pregnancy.”

“I think this is another situation where California is a pioneer,” added American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California lawyer Margaret Crosby in showing her support.

Opponents were quick to counter. “This is the first step down the road to making it appear like it's a simple, drive-by, 15-minute diversion,” says Camille Giglio, a lobbyist for California Right to Life, an anti-abortion group.

“Many don’t realize that this is literally a life-or-death decision with long-term physical and emotional consequences,” said state Assemblyman Brian Jones, whose district covers Santee, El Cajon, and large portions of unincorporated East County.

“I shouldn't be shocked at the moral failure this represents, but I fear what it says about our society that we are actually looking for more ways to abort babies,” Jones continued, adding that “I felt like I was kicked in the gut,” upon learning of the bill’s introduction.

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