The general trend in abortion policy has been a wave of state-level legislation that restricts access to the procedure. The Guttmacher Institute counts 43 such laws passed this year and, going back to 2007, more than 100 such restrictions.
That makes new legislation in California all the more significant: A law signed Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown allows more medical practitioners to perform first-trimester abortions. It also may be the first state law to expand or maintain access to the procedure since Hawaii did so in 2006 (their law keeps abortion legal in the state if the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade were to be overturned).