LOS ANGELES Depicting California as a place above recent controversies nationally regarding contraception, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Saturday allowing registered nurses to dispense birth control in clinics.
"Instead of shrinking back and trying to take away women's health care services or birth control, we're empowering women, and we do it proudly," Brown said at a Planned Parenthood headquarters here.
Supporters of Assembly Bill 2348, by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, say it will improve access to birth control, especially in poor and rural areas, reducing unplanned pregnancies.
The legislation pitted nonunion Planned Parenthood clinics and other health groups against the California Nurses Association. The nurses union, which has donated millions of dollars to Brown and his causes, had said the measure could result in poor women receiving lesser care.
Brown criticized Republicans for their opposition to Mitchell's bill, while Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez lamented what he called a "fierce assault" nationally on reproductive rights.
Pérez, D-Los Angeles, elicited groans when he offered as an example controversial remarks about rape last month by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, a Missouri congressman.