Under a bill approved by the California state Assembly on Thursday, nurses would be able to prescribe birth control pills.
Lawmakers approved AB2348, which would extend prescribing privileges to registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives, permitting them to distribute hormonal contraceptives at primary care clinics.
The bill was written by Los Angeles Democratic Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell in an effort to provide women with better access to birth control.
Republican lawmakers questioned the level of care nurses could provide, arguing that only physicians have the training and expertise to prescribe such medications.
Contending that the alternative for many woman was a complete absence of care, Mitchell said "no care is the lowest standard of care," the Associated Press reports.
The bill now moves to the Senate.