Calif. May Allow Others Besides Doctors to Perform Abortions

Thursday, 26 Apr 2012 10:54 AM

By Robert Engler

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A study in which non-physicians performed more than 8,000 abortions has led California lawmakers to propose a bill that would allow people who are not doctors to terminate pregnancies.
 
The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday the measure would significantly expand the number of abortion providers by allowing nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician assistants to perform the most common first-trimester abortion procedure.

The bill’s supporters, including Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, say the results of a five-year study by the University of California at San Francisco prove that non-physicians can perform abortions as safely as medical doctors.

Tracy Weitz, an associate professor who led the state-authorized study, said 41 midwives, nurse practitioners, and medical assistants performed more than 8,000 first-trimester abortions, which she described as “medically very simple [with] very rare complications.”

Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, said she was surprised abortion advocates would support a bill “lessening the medical requirements for someone who can do an abortion.”

“That does nothing to promote safety or protect women’s health,” she said.
 
According to the Times, Tobias also said the bill shows “California is out of step with the rest of the country,” compared to what other states are doing to impose tougher restrictions on abortions.

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