Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California has launched a new radio ad to generate support for legislation that would allow non-doctors to perform an early-term abortion procedure, as opposition from the California Nurses Association threatens to derail the bill.
The spot, which is running in San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego, asks listeners to call specific legislators and ask them to "guarantee women access to the health care we need and deserve."
While the ads, posted at this link, does not directly mention Senate Bill 1338, a press release says that is one of two bills that the ads seek to support. All three Democratic senators targeted by the campaign serve on a committee set to hear the measure in the coming weeks.
The bill, by Democratic Sen. Christine Kehoe, would allow advanced nurse practitioners, physicians assistants and certified nurse midwives to perform a procedure called aspiration abortion, which uses a suction method to remove a fetus from the patient's uterus during the first trimester. It is modeled after a UC San Francisco Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health pilot program and study that is set to expire later this year.
Supporters say the change will ensure women to have access to early-term abortions in their communities and by a provider they know and trust.
But the California Nurses Association has come out in opposition to the bill in its current form, airing concerns about putting the practice and training processes into law before the UC San Francisco study is complete. CNA governmental relations director Bonnie Castillo said while her organization believes the study will find that allowing the professionals covered by the bill to perform the procedure is safe, the change in law is "premature at best."
"It is not that we are opposed to nurse practitioners performing early first-trimester aspiration abortions. However, we do respect the fact that we need to ensure that the integrity of the study and that process be completed before determining the next appropriate steps," she said earlier this week, adding that the association would be open to legislation that granted an extension to sites participating in the study.
A hearing scheduled for this week was delayed, with Kehoe's office citing a need to give committee members and stakeholders more time to review the study's initial findings. The bill is now first scheduled to be heard Tuesday by the Senate Public Safety Committee, which must approve the measure because of penalties involved for violations of the law. It will then still need to clear the Business and Professions Committee before an April 27 deadline for making it out of policy committees.