Catholics urge veto of Calif. non-physician abortions bill

By Kevin J. Jones

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California State Capitol_Credit Jim Bowen (CC BY 2.0)

The California Catholic Conference is rallying the state’s voters to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to veto a bill extending a training program that allows non-physicians, including midwives, to perform abortions.

“The governor has until September 30, 2012 to veto or sign – or do nothing, in which it becomes law by default,” Carol Hogan, conference communications director, told EWTN News Sept. 13.

“We are asking opponents to call or email the Governor immediately.”

Hogan said the bill is “an ill-considered, last-minute and unsupportable extension of the authorization and funding for the training of abortionists” that “proposes to train midwives to kill the very same babies they are trained to deliver.”

The legislation, S.B. 623, extends a University of California San Francisco study that is considering the safety and effectiveness of abortion provision by non-doctor medical providers. The study began in 2007 and presently allows nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants to perform abortions, the Sacramento Bee’s politics blog CapitolAlert says.

Members of the conference’s 110,000-member Catholic Legislative Network have already sent almost 4,000 e-mails to the governor asking him to veto the bill.

The legislation was sponsored by San Diego Democrat Sen. Christine Kehoe. It passed Aug. 30 by a vote of 22-16. The present legislation lacks earlier provisions that would have licensed non-physicians to perform abortions.

If the bill becomes law, the conference said, abortion providers like Planned Parenthood will benefit financially because they can hire lower-paid clinicians instead of full physicians to perform abortions. The legislation approves a “lowered standard of care.”

The legislation is a variant of a state senate bill that failed earlier this year. It was revived through a “gut and amend” senate procedure that altered a bill originally intended to address boat paint and marine pollution.

In its July testimony against the bill, the conference said that a survey of California voters show that most “strongly oppose or oppose” allowing nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to perform first trimester abortions.

“Access to abortion is not a problem in California,” the conference said. “In fact, we have the dubious distinction of the highest per capita abortion rate in the nation.”

It said the choice of abortion is “a tragedy for the unborn child, a heartbreak for the mother and a failure of our society.”

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