Gov. Brown on Wednesday signed into law legislation that allows nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to perform aspiration abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy.
An aspiration abortion involves inserting a suction tube into the uterus to terminate a pregnancy.
Brown's action goes against a national trend; a number of states have passed laws designed to make it more difficult to get an abortion.
Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) authored the legislation as a way to make abortion services more available to those who live in regions of the state where there are fewer doctors.
Opponents of the legislation say it increases patient health risks.
In March, the American Journal of Public Health published a study that found no additional risk to the woman when an aspiration abortion is performed by a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or certified nurse midwife.
California is now the fifth state - along with Montana, New Hampshire , Oregon and Vermont - to allow nurse practitioners to perform aspiration abortions.