California lawmakers consider bill to let midwives commit abortions without doctor supervision

California legislature

Lawmakers in California are currently considering a bill that would ultimately expand abortion access so that certified nurse-midwives could commit abortions without doctor supervision. SB1237 seeks to remove physician oversight of certified nurse-midwives. Supporters of the bill say that it is designed to remove current restrictions on midwives so that they can provide care in rural areas where there are few OB/GYNs. However, because a 2013 law enabled non-physicians like nurses and midwives to commit abortions, this bill would ultimately mean that midwives could commit first-trimester surgical and medical abortions with no oversight.

While first-trimester abortions may be common, there are still risks involved. Women like Cree Erwin-Sheppard and Holly Patterson both died from complications of legal first-trimester abortions. Women taking the abortion pill in the first trimester likewise can suffer complications, at a rate four times higher than those who have first-trimester surgical abortions.


“It is horrific enough that California funds the killing of children through all nine months of pregnancy and leads the country in abortions with over 132,000 each year,” said Jonathan Keller, president of the California Family Council. “But the radical abortion lobby and the politicians they support seem hellbent on making it easier for unborn children to be killed, even if it means lowering health and safety standards for all women.”

READ: Planned Parenthood sponsors California bill to hide minors’ abortions from parents

NARAL Pro-Choice California is one of the bill’s sponsors. “The Justice and Equity in Maternity Care Act [SB1237] aims to expand access to reproductive healthcare — including abortion care and high-quality maternity care — by removing the outdated physician supervision requirement for Certified Nurse-Midwives,” it stated in a press release. “NARAL Pro-Choice California is proud to be a co-sponsor of SB 1237, a bill that’s critical to addressing our maternity care provider shortage and reducing racial disparities in maternal outcomes, which have only been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.”

California already has some of the lowest standards in the country when it comes to protecting women from the risks of abortion. It is currently one of only 11 states that does not require licensed physicians to commit abortions. Further removing doctors from a procedure that routinely harms and sometimes even kills women is a dangerous step.

The bill has already cleared the Senate. It is next slated to be discussed in a hearing before the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on August 10.

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