California Abortion Access Bill Already Stalled in Senate

Illustration for article titled California Abortion Access Bill Already Stalled in Senate

Remember when we got all excited about yesterday's bill that would expand the types of medical providers able to perform first trimester abortions in California? Well, it's already been watered down and deadlocked in the senate.

First, the original version of the bill was quickly shot down by the state's Nurses Association, which would only sign off on a revision that allowed just 41 providers who were involved in a special pilot program to be approved instead of the original 24,000 medical professionals. Et tu, nurses?


Then, there was a 4-4 deadlock in the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on Thursday, thanks to a surprise "No" vote from Sen. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, who apparently has national congressional aspirations so can't be bothered with the plight of a few million measly women.

San Diego Sen. Christine Kehoe, who introduced the bill, is an influential woman — she's head of the Appropriations Committee and has the support of Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg — so, according to UTSanDiego, the bill is thankfully "far from the permanent shelf." She plans on trying to win some of the other senators over, although one man, Sen. Mark Wyland, R-Escondido, is a definite lost cause.

"Would you be willing to submit to a surgical procedure by a non-medical doctor, any kind of surgical procedure if someone spent a few minutes saying, 'Yeah, well we think that's OK,'" Wyland said during yesterday's meeting.

Excellent question, Senator Wyland! No, I would not do that, OBVIOUSLY. But that's not what the bill would entail, either — it would allow specially trained nurse practitioners, physician's assistants and certified nurse midwives to perform vacuum aspiration abortions, which would help women who live in rural areas have more access to providers. Midwives and nurses are already allowed to perform abortions if they get a waiver from the Department of Federal Health, and this bill would have just legalized it permanently. A revote is expected next month, so cross your fingers.


Vargas blocks abortion bill [UT San Diego]
California Bill to Expand Access to Safe Abortion Care Gets Stuck In Committee [RHRC]
Abortion services expansion bill rejected by committee [ABC]

Image via Vepar5/Shutterstock.

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1. Le sigh...

2. In a related story:

California Governor Jerry Brown’s approval rating amongst California voters remains favorable,’s a much different story for state legislators. Among those surveyed, 66 percent disapprove of their performance while only 22 percent approved


3. Also, the data here is two years old but a quick Google search has not found a change to the contrary:

71 percent of state voters are pro-choice - consisting of the 22 percent who want to make it easier to obtain an abortion and the 49 percent who want to maintain existing laws - while 24 percent want to make it harder to obtain an abortion and 5 percent have no opinion.


Come on, legislators, time to reflect the will of the people already...