Calif. Bill To Expand Number of Abortion Providers Stalls in Senate Committee

April 30, 2012 — A scaled-back version of a California bill (SB 1338) that would allow a limited number of non-physicians to provide first-trimester abortion care stalled in committee on Thursday in a 4-4 vote, U-T San Diego reports (Gardner, U-T San Diego, 4/26).

Under the original bill, by state Sen. Christine Kehoe (D), up to 24,000 trained nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants would have been permitted to provide abortion care. However, the Senate Public Safety Committee last week approved a revised version that would allow only 41 providers participating in a University of California-San Francisco pilot program -- as well as clinicians who are trained through the program by the end of the year -- to continue performing the abortion procedure (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/25).

The California Nurses Association, which had opposed the original bill, endorsed the measure after the revisions. However, the bill continued to face opposition from state Sen. Juan Vargas (D), one of two Democrats who voted against it in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on Thursday.

According to U-T San Diego, Kehoe's bill is set to be reconsidered on May 7. She said she will launch an intensive campaign to win over at least one of the Democrats who voted against it (U-T San Diego, 4/26).