Calif. Bill To Expand Number of Abortion Providers Pulled From Legislative Calendar

May 8, 2012 — A scaled-back version of a California bill (SB 1338) that would have expanded the number of non-physicians who can provide first-trimester abortion care was shelved on Monday after supporters failed to secure a tie-breaking vote, the U-T San Diego reports.

The bill had stalled in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on April 26 with a 4-4 vote, but lawmakers agreed to reconsider the measure (Gardner, U-T San Diego, 5/4).

The original version of the bill would have permitted up to 24,000 trained nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to provide abortions. On April 26, the Senate Public Safety Committee approved a revised version that would have allowed 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 offering the procedure (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/30).

Although the bill likely is finished for the year, its author, Sen. Christine Kehoe (D), said she might pursue other ways to expand access to abortion care. "The issue of access to early abortion care for women across California remains an important issue and we will continue to review our options for ensuring that all women have access to care by providers they know and trust in the communities where they live," she said (Gardner, U-T San Diego, 5/4).