California Bill Seeks to Legalize Abortion by Non-Physicians (SB1388) — UPDATE

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UPDATE
Abortions by non-doctors stopped for now but …

Thanks to all of you who contacted your state representatives regarding SB 1338. After the bill passed in the Senate Public Safety Committee, it was then re-referred to the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. (Story available here). The bill failed in the April 26 hearing in that committee, reconsideration being granted. It was then set for rehearing May 7, 2012, but prior to the May 7 hearing the bill was pulled from the committee by the bill author.

Action Item for California Citizens: Search (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html) for Senate Bill 1338 to see the current status and history of this bill. Write to your senator, and to the appropriate committee, its members and the bill’s authors and sponsors expressing your opposition to allowing non-physicians to legally perform abortions within your state.

LLDF prepared a fact sheet about SB1338 that will be useful in drafting correspondence to your legislators. This document is also available in PDF.


In February (2012), Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) introduced CA Senate Bill 1338, which if enacted would allow non-physicians to perform abortions. The new breed of abortionist would merely need to complete a training provided pursuant to the Health Workforce Pilot Project #171 (HWPP). SB 1338 was heard in the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development Monday, April 16. View the bill’s status and history.

Abortion is an atrocity even when committed by a physician. By eliminating the physician from the abortion procedure, essential elements of medical safety evaporate. Informed consent becomes nothing more than ticking off a check-list of possible injuries, and the abortion itself simply becomes “a service that involves a certain level of technical expertise on the part of the operator, but otherwise bears merely the semblance of medical care. A woman will receive more genuine medical counseling before undergoing plastic surgery than undergoing an abortion,” writes Katie Short, LLDF’s Legal Director. Read LLDF’s letter opposing SB 1338 in its entirety.

To justify the bill, SB 1338 proponents point to a University of California, San Francisco training for non-physicians under HWPP. In fact, this training program is specifically referenced in the bill, and graduates of the program would be specifically designated as “qualified” to perform abortions under the new law.

LLDF’s repeated public records requests to find out further information concerning this program have been ignored and rejected outright. On Friday, April 13, 2012, LLDF filed a Writ of Mandate to compel disclosure of the information it has been seeking pursuant to public records law, including the identity of the physicians providing HWPP training. Identifying the physicians involved with the training ought to be a paramount legislative concern in order to determine whether the physicians participating in the training are themselves under investigation or discipline for providing substandard care.

Action Item for California Citizens: Go to http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html and search Senate Bill 1338 to see the current status and history of the bill. Write to your senator, and to the appropriate committee, its members and the bill’s authors and sponsors expressing your opposition to allowing non-physicians to legally perform abortions within your state.