NJ expands access to abortions for midwives and medical assistants

New Jersey formally passed new rules that allow for a broader approach to abortions, following a unanimous vote by the state’s Board of Forensic Pathologists in October.

The changes eliminate “medically unnecessary” abortion regulations, allowing terminations of pregnancies beyond 14 weeks gestation, where possible.

It also paves the way for advanced practice nurses, medical assistants and certified nurse midwives and certified midwives to provide “suction” abortion care, in addition to physicians.

These healthcare professionals are already licensed to provide medical pregnancy termination in New Jersey.

As of December, there were approximately 11,024 advanced practice nurses, 4,379 medical assistants, 363 certified nurse midwives and 15 certified midwives in New Jersey who may be licensed to perform the procedure in the future, said state officials.

“At a time when our country is on the verge of severely limiting access to reproductive health care, New Jersey is prioritizing the expansion of these essential services,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a written statement on Monday. .

“Removing outdated barriers to care ensures that all New Jersey residents have equitable access to reproductive health care. “

Not the law on freedom of reproduction

This is a separate issue from the Reproductive Freedom Bill, which has stalled in the Legislature. This proposal would address the absence of a law in the state of New Jersey codifying abortion rights.

The measure was first introduced in the Senate and State Assembly in October 2020.

Although Murphy has repeatedly expressed his support and said he will sign the FRG, there is no indication that a vote will send him to his office before 2022.

Obsolete rule changes

“The changes adopted today will allow more New Jersey residents to have access to life-saving reproductive care,” Dr. Scott E. Metzger, chairman of the State Board of Medical Examiners, said Monday in a statement. written statement.

“A lot of time and effort is spent reviewing each regulatory proposal submitted to the Council, and its unanimous decision indicates that it was time to implement changes to allow additional qualified professionals to provide the care. abortion required. “

The Council’s vote in September 2020 was based on the recommendations made at the end of 2018 by a sub-committee.

This panel examined how New Jersey’s current regulations are keeping pace with recent case law as well as advances in the medical field.

A law passed in New York in 2019 also broadened the range of skilled health professionals able to see patients seeking abortions.

A 2013 study by the University of California, San Francisco found that first trimester abortions were just as safe when performed by physicians or trained nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certified nurse midwives. .

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In 2017, Governor Phil Murphy won the election with 14.1 percentage points, a margin exceeding 303,000. His re-election was much closer, a victory of 84,000 votes and 3.2 points. He and others have spoken of a “red wave” of Republican voters in the electorate, and the certified results show which counties turned red the most.

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