SACRAMENTO, (CBS/AP) — A bill that would allow nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to perform a type of early abortion is one step away from the governor.

AB154 passed the Senate on a 25-11 vote Monday and will return to the Assembly for a final vote on amendments.

It would let those medical professionals perform what are known as aspiration abortions during the first trimester. The method involves inserting a tube and using suction to terminate a pregnancy.

Democratic Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara says the bill will help make abortions available in rural areas that have few doctors. She says half of California counties do not have abortion providers.

Opponents say the expansion will create medical risks for patients. The bill expands on a six-year pilot program.

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