A copy of the following letter was emailed to Cal Catholic on Dec. 27 by the proponent of a referendum against the non-physician abortion bill.

Dear Attorney General Kamala Harris:

I call to your attention as Attorney General and chief law enforcement officer of the State of California, that the legal authority for non-physicians to perform abortions in California under the statute provided by SB 623, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on September 22, 2012, ends on January 1, 2014, unless extended by a new statute.  See Health and Safety Code 128197 (b).

An extension was provided by AB 154, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on October 9, 2013.

However, I filed with your office a request for a Title and Summary for a referendum of AB 154 (CHAPTER 662, Statutes of 2013) on October 28, 2013.

You provided a Title and Summary for referendum No. 13-0029 on November 7, 2013.

The Secretary of State issued News Release DB13:049 on the same day for the referendum of AB 154 with the tracking number 1608.

My request for a Title and Summary suspends AB 154 from taking effect for at least 90 days — until January 7, 2014 — the time allotted for gathering 504,760 valid signatures of registered voters — and then until the number and validity of the signatures is determined by the Registrar of voters in the 58 California counties and reported to the California Secretary of State who will then report whether the referendum qualified, or failed to qualify for the ballot.

If the referendum qualifies, then AB 154 is suspended from taking effect until the voters either approve it or reject it on the November 4, 2014 ballot.

If and when the Secretary of State determines that the referendum of AB 154 failed to qualify, and unless a court enjoined some or all of its provisions, only then could AB 154 take effect.

Therefore, on January 1, 2014, and until the referendum of AB 154 is concluded, no non-physician:  whether midwife, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner, and regardless of their training to perform abortions, can legally perform abortions in California.  The performance of an illegal abortion is a prosecutable offense.

Therefore, I urgently request that as California’s chief law enforcement officer, you take the following actions:

1.  Direct the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) to inform each and every non-physician midwife, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner trained and allowed to continue to perform abortions under SB 623, that they must cease to perform abortions on January 1, 2014.

2.  Direct the Department of Consumer Affairs to inform the appropriate licensing boards that non-physicians must cease performing abortions and licensed physicians must cease supervision of the performance of abortions by non-physicians on January 1, 2014.

3.  Inform the Department of Public Health that non-physicians must cease performing abortions on January 1, 2014 in any health care facility or physician’s office in California.

4.  Inform hospitals, health maintenance organizations like Kaiser Permanente, and primary care clinics like Planned Parenthood, that abortions performed by non-physicians will be illegal and prosecutable crimes after January 1, 2014.

5.  Inform Medi-Cal and your Medi-Cal fraud unit, and other payers of claims for providing health care, that payment of claims for abortions performed by non-physicians starting January 1, 2014, will be illegal and prosecutable.

6.  Inform your civil litigation unit to be prepared to file civil cases to recover damages from abortions which are illegally performed by non-physicians and result in Medi-Cal payments for these abortions or for any treatment of complications from these illegal abortions.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this urgent request.


Laurette Elsberry, Proponent of referendum of AB 154