California News

Proposed bill would provide greater abortion access, allow non-doctors to perform abortions

Friday, August 30, 2013

A bill to expand abortion services is heading to the governor's desk. It would allow some medical professionals who are not medical doctors to perform abortions. There are strong feelings on both sides of the issue.

Women in California may have greater access to abortion services under a controversial measure sent to Governor Jerry Brown.

The proposal allows nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants to terminate some pregnancies in the first trimester. Currently only doctors can do it. Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) is spearheading the move.

"More than half of California counties don't have an abortion provider, and so it forces women to wait longer to get a procedure," said Atkins. "If they have to wait beyond the first trimester, it becomes a more expensive and more difficult procedure for women."

A pilot study done by UC San Francisco shows trained non-doctors can safely perform abortions. In fact it concluded the safety outcomes were equivalent to doctors.

But pro-life groups disagree with expanding services. They're worried about patient safety.

Wynette Sills from the Coalition for Women and Children often stands outside abortion clinics on Friday mornings attempting to sway minds.

She says letting medical personnel other than doctors perform these services is risky.

"The training is very short," said Sills. "You're trying to fit a few weeks' training into something a medical doctor has been trained through schooling, education, internships. There's really no justification for the lowering the standards of health care for women."

Four states already have a similar law in place.

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health care, women's health, california news, nannette miranda
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