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Abortion proposal withdrawn in California Senate

Bill to allow early abortions to be performed by certain medical workers other than doctors is pulled from committee for lack of support.

May 05, 2012|By Nicholas Riccardi, Los Angeles Times

A controversial proposal to allow some nurses, midwives and physician assistants to perform certain early abortions was withdrawn by its author Friday because it lacked enough votes to pass a key legislative committee.

The bill had the backing of the leaders of both houses of the Legislature and of Planned Parenthood but was opposed by an influential nurses union and by foes of abortion rights.

Proponents argued that the measure would make it easier for women who live far from urban areas with plenty of abortion providers to get safer, less intrusive procedures. Opponents said the idea was reckless and would put women at risk.

State Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) had already narrowed the category of medical workers able to perform the procedure, restricting it to those who participated in a specific training program. On Friday afternoon, though, she acknowledged she did not have the votes to get the proposal through the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee.

"The issue of access to early abortion care for women across California remains an important issue, and we will continue to review our options for ensuring that all women have access to care by providers they know and trust in the communities where they live," Kehoe said in a statement, announcing that she was pulling the bill, SB 1338.

The proposal, which would have positioned California in opposition to many other states that are restricting access to abortion, may not be dead. Bills are often revived and approved late in the legislative session.

nicholas.riccardi@latimes.com

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