For the entire trajectory of AB 154 through the California Legislature, citizen lobbyists have flocked to committee rooms and repeatedly visited lawmakers in their offices. The CCC has coordinated with these dedicated individuals and supported them when they testified at both the policy and fiscal committee hearings.
AB 154 would legalize nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants, who have taken an 8 week course, to provide first trimester abortions—and it would reclassify that procedure of abortion by aspiration (vacuum) as non-surgical. The author and sponsor’s (Planned Parenthood) primary argument for the need for the bill was “access.”
The bill will soon be on the Governor’s desk, at which time a statewide Action Alert will be issued. You can also call the Governor’s office (916-445-2841) and express your opposition to AB 154. Below are the many reasons that AB 154 would be bad law.
- Human life is sacred and abortion takes a life.
We as Catholics believe that human life is created in the image and likeness of God, therefore we oppose the practice of abortion and until it becomes illegal, we will advocate for restrictions on its practice.
- More than 90 percent of all abortions are elective.
In a recent study by the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, three percent of the women seeking an abortion wanted it because of health “difficulties” of the fetus, four percent because of her health difficulties and one-half a percent because the pregnancy was the result of rape. Most abortions are done for other reasons—economic, partner or parental pressure or interference with life plans.
- Access to abortion is not a “critical public health issue,” as the author of AB 154 claims.
There is actually is no “problem” of access. Although 22 percent of California counties have no abortion provider, only one percent of the state’s women live in those counties. In addition, in June and July of 2013, volunteers called abortion facilities all over the state and were offered appointments the same day or in a few cases, within a week.
Abortion is just another elective medical procedure and does not qualify as a “critical public health issue.” There is no other elective medical procedure for which immediate and proximate facilities are required to be available. Many elective surgeries—like knee replacement, open heart, liposuction or face lifts—are obtainable in California—but not necessarily in every city and county.
- There is no shortage of abortion facilities in California.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, in 2008 there were 522 abortion providers in California and 1,793 abortion providers in the United States. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, California has 12 percent of the U.S. population (38 million out of 314 million), but 29 percent of the abortion providers.
- In 1973, the Roe decision was predicated on the woman seeking the counsel and skill of a physician.
The author, Justice Blackmun, wrote: “For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s attending physician.” Thirty-five years later, Hillary Clinton summarized the “pro-choice” stance saying that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare,” and that choosing to have an abortion was both a moral and a wrenching decision for “a young woman, her family, her physician and pastor.”
- In California, a girl as young as 12 can obtain an abortion without her parents’ knowledge—and if AB 154 becomes law that abortion could be performed by a non-physician.
- The UCSF pilot program and subsequent study are inadequate to understand the risk to girls and women who submit to abortions by mid-level clinicians.
The “under” two percent complication rate reported in the UCSF study of the pilot program, which trained mid-level clinicians to perform first trimester abortions, was deemed good enough. What was not acknowledged is that the complication rate for the trainees in that study was twice that of the physicians. What is also not considered is that the pilot program occurred in strictly controlled conditions—unlike conditions likely to be encountered in the real world. And the reported complications were only those that were obvious immediately or soon after the procedure. There was no attempt to follow the women to ascertain the long-term effects.
- AB 154 will institute a two-tier system in which those with means seek out physicians for their abortions and those without means are relegated to mid-level clinicians, who have taken an 8-week class.
Not coincidentally, the sponsor of AB 154 is also sponsoring AB 980, which will change the building codes so that first trimester abortions can occur in primary care clinics. If both bills become law, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), these abortions will be available and practiced in all the new primary care clinics—most of which will be located in high population/low income areas. This clearly represents a lowered standard of care—especially for poor women.
- The public is not clamoring for this change in the law.
In an April 2013 poll of 600 registered California voters, conducted by Smith Johnson Research, a 65 percent majority across all demographics—men, women, African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Democrats, Republicans, Independents—opposed allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform first trimester abortions. When nurse midwives were included in the list of practitioners who could perform abortions, the opposition rose to 75 percent.
- Planned Parenthood, which spends millions on lobbying, will reap a financial windfall if AB 154 and AB 980 become law.
Planned Parenthood, the sponsor of AB 154 and AB 980, spent $2 million lobbying their special interests in 2010 (the last year for which figures are available). That investment pales beside their anticipated financial windfall if both bills become law. Not only will they be able to employ lower-paid clinicians to perform abortions, but they need not adhere to the more rigorous building standards for surgical clinics, and they will have access to millions more new clients who flock to ACA primary care clinics.