SACRAMENTO, CA October 9, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – California Governor Jerry Brown has signed two bills allowing non-physicians to perform abortions and reducing health standards for abortion facilities, saying the new laws “support the health and well-being of women.”

California is the fifth state to allow or not explicitly ban the practice of non-physician abortion, joining Montana, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.

The bill, A.B. 154, introduced by San Diego Democrat Toni Atkins, would authorize midwives, nurse practitioners, and physicians’ assistants to perform first-trimester suction aspiration abortions.

A study conducted by Tracy Weitz, director of UC-San Francisco’s Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, found that abortions performed by non-physicians had twice the rate of complications as those performed by doctors. However, Dr. Weitz called the difference “clinically equivalent.

The new law, which originally passed the General Assembly in May, cleared the State Senate last month by a near-party line vote of 25-11. Lou Correa of Anaheim was the only Senate Democrat to vote against the bill.

“The growing shortage of abortion providers creates a significant barrier for women,” said State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.

The Guttmacher Institute has reported that in 2008 nearly one-third of all the nation's abortion providers, more than 500, worked in California.

In pointed contrast to a growing trend across the nation of tightening health regulations on abortion, Governor Brown also signed a bill lowering standards for abortion facilities.

A.B. 980 by Assemblymember Richard Pan, D- Sacramento, reverses health regulations intended to hold abortionists' offices to the same standards as other surgical facilities. Other states, such as Texas and Virginia, have been increasing office regulations after reading about the filthy conditions of abortion offices like Kermit Gosnell's and others across the nation.

State Senator Mimi Walters, R-Irvine, objected that "lowering standards...does put women's health at risk."

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"Why would you lower standards?" fellow Republican State Senator Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin asked. "These are surgical facilities.”

The signature was part of what Governor Brown's office described as a group of “seven bills to support the health and well-being of women in California.”