September 5, 2012 Print

Midwives, Others May Perform Abortions in California

by Bethany Monk

The California Senate passed a bill Thursday making it legal for certain non-physicians to perform abortions statewide, if Gov. Jerry Brown signs it.

S.B. 623, introduced by Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), extends a pilot program being conducted at the University of California, San Francisco that trains nurse practitioners, midwives and physicians assistants to perform first-trimester suction abortions.

Dana Cody, executive director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF), told CitizenLink the bill endangers women. According to LLDF, two doctors who contributed to the training workbook used in the study have been disciplined by the state for causing the deaths of women during abortions, as well as for drug and alcohol abuse.

“Abortion is not health care — abortion injures women, and women deserve better,” Cody said.

The bill was rejected three times before it finally passed the state Senate on a 22-16 vote Aug. 30. This spring, a Senate committee rejected an attempt to pass a different version of the bill, which would have allowed non-physicians in general to perform abortions.

Earlier this year, LLDF filed a formal request with UCSF for information about the program and the people taking part in it. The school has not released the information.

“There have been numerous attempts to resist records requests, leaving us wondering what they have to hide,” said LLDF Legal Director Katie Short. “It is important for Californians to find out what is being done in the training program — who are the abortionists conducting the training? How many women are being injured by these non-physician abortionists?”

Read California S.B. 623.

Read LLDF’s formal records request.

Read LLDF’s non-physician abortion fact sheet.