Pro-Life Groups Slam CA Bill Allowing Non-Physicians to Perform Abortions

By Alissa Tabirian | August 28, 2013 | 10:58am EDT


Lila Rose, president of Live Action. ( Starr)

( – Pro-life groups decried the “abortion-first” mentality of a bill approved Monday by the California State Senate that will allow nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives and physicians’ assistants to perform first-trimester abortions.

“This expansion will help alleviate a shortage of abortion providers in California,” said Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), who introduced the bill, which passed by a 25-11 margin. “All women should have timely access to reproductive healthcare regardless of whether they live in urban or rural areas and without excessive expense or travel,” she said in a press release.

“In what other realm of business does this bizarre standard pass muster?” Lila Rose, president of Live Action, asked. “Do you let a butcher build your house because you ‘deserve access to’ a carpenter? Do you let a nurse do your bypass surgery because you ‘deserve access to’ a cardiologist? Nowhere else does ‘we really need it, therefore let unqualified people do it’ make sense.”

“The pro-abortion lobby will stop at nothing to force an abortion-first mentality on women and families,” she added.

The legislation requires that medical professionals “complete training recognized by the Board of Registered Nursing” in order to perform aspiration abortions, in which a “suction” or “vacuum” process is used to abort the baby.

But a study on the “Safety of Aspiration Abortion Performed by Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, and Physician Assistants Under a California Legal Waiver” published in the American Journal of Public Health found that 1.3 percent of aspiration abortions studied “resulted in a complication."

The complication rate for physician-performed aspiration abortions was 0.9 percent, the study found. But it was double (1.8 percent) for those performed by medical professionals other than physicians.

Other pro-life groups also spoke up condemning the bill.

The abortion industry fights “to be unmonitored, unregulated, and unfettered by protections for women who are too often victimized by an industry focused on profits – not patients,” Kristi Hamrick, spokesperson for Americans United for Life, told CNSNews. Hamrick condemned the industry’s “disregard for women” in its latest attempt to lower medical standards.

“I think this type of legislation proves that after more than 40 years of legal abortion in the United States, there is apparently still a stigma to being an abortionist," Ann Scheidler, vice president of the Pro-Life Action League, told CNSNews. “It seems no young medical student dreams of being an abortionist.”

“I find it a sad commentary that the legislators and the advocates of abortion want to involve ever more of the medical community in the killing of an innocent, unborn baby,” Scheidler added. “It is my fervent hope that nurse midwives, nurse practitioners and physician assistants will be as reluctant as doctors to become agents of death, and that they will refuse to perform abortions. It would be the honorable thing to do.”

California law currently allows nurse practitioners to administer abortion-inducing medicine. According to AB154, “it would not be a public offense for a person to perform an abortion by medication or aspiration techniques in the first trimester of pregnancy if he or she holds a license or certificate authorizing him or her to perform the functions necessary for an abortion by medication or aspiration techniques.”

The bill will return to the State Assembly for a final vote before moving on to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.

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