The state Senate on Wednesday adopted Assemblymember Holly Mitchell’s (D-Culver City) AB 2384 in a 23-15 vote.
The bill would allow registered nurses to dispense contraceptives including the pill, patches and rings under a standardized procedure. Currently, only physicians and nurse practitioners can dispense contraceptives.
"Not only is the pill not going back in the bottle, it is about to become more available to Californians who want and need family planning options," Mitchell said in an official statement.
The Assemblymember is also the chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Services.
"We’re launching a push back against recent nationwide efforts to turn back the clock on reproductive rights," she added.
AB 2348 is co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood of California and the California Family Health Council and is supported by a broad coalition of advocates, including Oakland’s ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, Latinas for Reproductive Justice and the National Council of Jewish Women.
According to a statement from Mitchell’s office, the bill’s chief opponents have been nurses’ unions whose members’ scope of practice already allows them to dispense birth control.
"When so many families face high unemployment, shrinking benefits and an urgent need for family planning, it is unconscionable to turn access to birth control into a turf war," Mitchell said.
AB 2348 will now move to the Assembly to be voted upon. If it passes it will be sent to Gov. Jerry Brown to sign.