A bill that would allow non-physicians to perform abortions in the first trimester of pregnancy is awaiting signature by Gov. Jerry Brown of California by Sep. 30. The bill, AB 154, passed both houses of the state legislature with strong support from Planned Parenthood and pro-choice groups. Planned Parenthood stands to benefit most directly from the bill, as non-physician staff at its clinics would be able to obtain abortion licenses.
One doctor–who identified himself as pro-choice–told Breitbart News that “the bill is a disaster since it sends us back 100 years to the problems of the complications from back-steet abortions.” The bill’s critics warn that the training provided to non-physician staff is weak, that supervision by physicians in clinics will be minimal, and that there is real risk of injury or death to women who will be treated in such conditions.
The California Medical Association has endorsed AB 154 because of “provisions for training in the bill and the amendments that clarify physician supervision.” Yet the training is to be provided by the Board of Registered Nursing, not by physicians, and the protocols for defining “supervision” have not been specified. There is nothing in the legislation requiring a physician to be present or on-site during an abortion.