Lobbying efforts pay off, bill to allow non-physicians to perform abortions fails to clear legislative committee
A bill that would have allowed non-physicians to perform uterine aspiration abortions in California failed to clear a key legislative committee yesterday — though it could come up for reconsideration as soon as next month.
Despite heavy pressure from pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood, two Democrats — Sen. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, and Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana — joined two Republicans in voting against the bill, creating a 4-4 tie. One Republican committee member was absent.
The tie vote means the measure, SB 1338, failed to win approval from the nine-member Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee, a step required for the bill to become law.
The bill, co-sponsored by Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, NARAL Pro-Choice California, the ACLU of California, and ACCESS to Women’s Justice, originally would have allowed nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants to perform uterine aspiration abortions, a practice currently outlawed. Backers said current law needed to be changed to make abortions more readily available to California women.
But even before SB 1338 reached the Business, Professions and Economic Committee yesterday, another Senate committee had already gutted most of its provisions. On Tuesday, the Senate Public Safety Committee voted 5-2 along party lines to approve what theSacramento Bee described as “a narrowed version of the bill, which would allow only 41 clinicians trained under a pilot program to continue performing the procedure after this year.”
“It’s a pleasant surprise to see pro-life votes from Democrat legislators who have a bad habit of voting pro-abortion,” said Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, a pro-family lobbying group in Sacramento, in a statement issued following the vote. “We commend Senators Juan Vargas and Lou Correa for voting against this dangerous expansion of the torture and killing of children through horrific suction abortions.”
“It’s amazing what pro-life Catholics, by aggressively lobbying professing Catholic Democrat legislators who aspire to new political offices, can do in an election year,” said Thomasson.
Late last week, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California began running radio ads in Los Angeles, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area targeting three Democratic senators who sit on the Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee, including Sen. Vargas, in an attempt to pressure them to vote yes on SB 1338.
One key opponent of the bill was the influential and politically powerful California Nurses Association, which called SB 1338 “ill-conceived and unnecessary.”
The California Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops, also mounted a campaign against the bill.
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