Twenty members of the California Legislature have signed on as co-sponsors of a bill by Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, that would allow non-physicians to perform abortions -- a practice currently prohibited by state law.
In a Jan. 10 memo to other members of the legislature, Kehoe sought co-sponsors for the bill, which would change the state Business and Professions Code to define “abortions performed by uterine aspiration” as non-surgical procedures.
Kehoe managed to get 10 co-sponsors in the state Senate and 10 in the Assembly for the bill, SB 1501, which she introduced on Feb. 24 and which was read for the first time on Feb. 27.
If SB 1501 becomes law, it would mean that a current exception in the law permitting midwives and physicians’ assistants to perform ‘non-surgical abortions’ would also apply to abortions using uterine aspiration.
Kehoe wants to redefine the procedure as non-surgical to make it easier for women to get abortions. According to her Jan. 10 memo to fellow legislators, more than 8,000 such abortions have already been performed by nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants and certified midwives in California as part of a University of California-San Francisco study approved by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.
“This measure improves women’s access to early abortions by increasing: 1) the number of non-surgical abortion providers, and 2) the ability for patients to receive safe and cost effective reproductive health care from providers they already know and trust,” Kehoe said in the memo. “This bill is necessary because so many California counties lack access to abortion services, requiring women to travel a significant distance for care.”
Co-sponsors in the Senate (all Democrats) are: Elaine Alquist, Kevin DeLeón, Mark DeSaulnier, Noreen Evans, Lori Hancock, Mark Leno, Ted Lieu, Carol Liu, Darrell Steinberg and Lois Wolk.
Co-sponsors in the Assembly (all Democrats) are: Tom Ammiano, Toni Atkins, Bob Blumenfield, Julia Brownley, Betsy Butler, Jerry Hill, Ricardo Lara, John Pérez, Nancy Skinner and Das Williams.
According to Planned Parenthood, a longtime supporter of Kehoe because of her pro-abortion legislative record, an aspiration abortion is an “in-clinic” procedure. It involves the administration of pain medication, the insertion of a speculum, numbing of the cervix, the possible stretching of the cervix with dilators, the use of antibiotics, the insertion of a tube into the uterus and the suctioning out of its contents.