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New California laws will ‘dramatically increase availability of abortion’

By on Monday, 14 October 2013

Governor Brown signed the act into law last week
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Governor Brown signed the act into law last week (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

New California laws allowing non-doctors to perform abortions and repealing some building regulations that govern abortion clinics “dramatically increase the availability of abortion” in the state, the president of the California Catholic Conference has said.

Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Wilkerson of Los Angeles said: “We oppose abortion, and until it becomes illegal, we will oppose measures which expand it – especially when it is at the expense of the girls and women undergoing the procedure,”

On October 9, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a measure that permits a nurse practitioner, certified nurse-midwife or physician assistant “to perform an abortion by aspiration techniques during the first trimester of pregnancy”. These non-physician medical professionals must complete “specified training” and comply with “specified standardized procedures or protocols.”

“This change in the law will effectively create a two-tier health system,” Bishop Wilkerson said in a statement released last week by the Sacramento-based conference, the public policy arm of the Catholic bishops.

“Physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives — with eight week’s training — can now perform first trimester abortions in primary care clinics not designed for surgery,” the bishop said. “Most of their clients will be women and girls who are poor, whereas women and girls with means will seek out physicians with surgical skills and hospital-admitting privileges for their abortions.”

Brown also signed into law a bill that repeals certain regulations and sections of the California Building Standards Code that treat primary clinics differently depending on whether the clinics provide abortion services.

Bishop Wilkerson said the bishops were disappointed with both measures becoming law in their state, where “12 percent of Americans reside but 29 percent of all the nation’s abortions occur”.

“The often-repeated mantra of those supporting abortions rights is that abortions ought to be safe, legal and rare,” he said. “With this change in California’s law, abortions are merely legal – no longer safe. We pray for the day when abortion is no longer legal.”

  • johnhenry

    “… until it becomes illegal, we will oppose measures which expand it – especially when it is at the expense of the girls and women undergoing the procedure…

    …Actually, Auxiliary Bishop, you should especially oppose them because of the increase in the number of babies who will be killed because of them. But your comment was just a sound bite, and you should not be brought heavily to task for it. Sound bites by auxiliary bishops are risky things.

  • SimonS

    It infuriates me when the medical safety of abortion procedures gets conflated with legality in the legislative process.

    It is for legislature to determine if abortion should be legal.

    Given the results of legislation, it should then be for the normal medical authorities to determine the grounds under which it can be performed safely (including the personnel required, or not required, the facilities required etc.).

    When politicians and other policy types make changes to the medical environments under which abortion can be performed, they directly overstep (and are widely perceived to overstep) their competence – and this radically undermines their standing in the actual debate that matters which is legality.

  • johnhenry

    SimonS: Not sure whether to agree with you or argue with you. The latter, I think.

  • SimonS

    All of the most difficult/interesting issues have a tendency to be like this.

    Feel free to argue!

    The main reason that I object is that the safety side of medicine policy works best when it is clearly and transparently evidence-based. When other politics bleeds in to that side, then in the long run it not only undermines confidence in politics but it also undermines confidence in medical standards. This doesn’t help anyone.

  • Scyptical Chymist

    “Sound bites by auxiliary bishops are risky things.”

    As indeed by any member of the hierarchy all the way to the top.

  • johnhenry

    “medicine policy”? “evidence-based”? “politics bleeds?”

    I’ll get back to you after my laxative kicks in.

  • Laura Norder

    Lord. Have. Mercy. On. Us.

  • Jcar

    I recently read that lower crime rates in NYC can be attributed to high abortion rates among the poor, especially minorities. It’s a kind of a death sentence before the crime happens. So what this is saying is that lowering crime and not women’s health is our justification for executing the newborn of the poor and minorities. There is a special place in hell for those that facilitate this to women or families in distress. As a thinking person, I wonder if the colonies in the Americas would have survived if abortion had been an option and facilitated to women and families in distress. Would the Jewish people have survived if abortion had been an option during the exodus out of Egypt? Is it not pregnancy as you escape with barely your clothing on, a real pain and an inconvenience? What are we going to tell God as we are faced with our sins. I cannot see how a Christian or any believer can justify abortion? How in the world did those fighting for the poor ever allied themselves to the lobby? How can one consider an ally another whose intent is on ending your kind by killing the your unborn. Is this such a hard question to answer? People conducting and facilitating abortion are common people. Most of them are law abiding and probably have their own families. Yet they seem to be hellbent on providing these services. You have seen this mentality before. Many of the locals that ran the ovens in concentration camps during WW II also had families and probably celebrated religious holidays. It’s a herd mentality. Driven by the media. I am sure you have heard all this before. I am also sure that if tomorrow the NY Times and CNN and other media news outlets came out with lines saying that abortion kill the innocent. All abortions would stop that same day.

  • SimonS

    I think you make my point for me.

    The fact that you appear to think that having effective and independent policy and regulatory approaches to medicine is implausible is precisely the consequence of politicians playing hard and fast with the process.

    I note that, at least in the UK, the combination of NICE and the GMC generally does a fairly good job of preparing clinical standards.

  • SimonS

    As a thinking person, I wonder if the colonies in the Americas would have survived if abortion had been an option and facilitated to women and families in distress.

    With this, and a number of your other points, it is worth noting that in times and cultures with substantial economic insecurity, having children was a safety net and a provision for old age. This is especially true in pioneer communities, as there really were no other functioning forms of safety net.

    The balance has swing substantially as society has become more structured, stable and wealthy, with provisions such as bank accounts and pensions.

  • guestguy

    Californication. I prefer the Governator to this killer of innocents.

  • Julian Lord

    Abortion is not a medical procedure ; it is murder.

  • SimonS

    … and as a consequence is correctly dealt with by legislature and judicial proceedings.

    By tinkering with the conditions of abortion as a medical procedure (i.e. what sort of doctors/nurses are required, what facilities, where …) then abortion is treated as a valid medical procedure. This normalises abortion and undermines any contrary effort in the legislature.

    I am similarly unimpressed by legislative faffing around the death penalty regarding if one cocktail of drugs is better than another, and what procedures are acceptable. It is the role of legislature to decide if the death penalty is applicable (I would strongly argue against it), but procedural details are outside of the competence of politicians.

  • Jcar

    It’s true that the economics of families and some of the motivations for bearing children have changed and reflect the safety nets the elderly have nowadays. Economist Larry Kudlow makes some strong arguments on how abortion rates and other population control experiments have impacted negatively the future of this and other nations. Take a drive thru upstate New York. You will find entire communities where the majority of the population is elderly. Schools are closing down because THERE ARE NO CHILDREN. Entire generations are missing in some towns.There is nobody to do the work leaving municipalities with no real tax base and where the only income is social security and pensions paid to the elderly. In the US and elsewhere there are no sounds of children playing where there once were. The silence is telling. The elderly are relying on retirement systems that were created on the expectation that there would be enough young people to help carry the load with contributions from their taxed earnings. When families are killing 50% of their unborn children what can we expect to happen to these systems? How soon will it be before we start talking about killing the elderly to even things up in this Godless social experiment. Oh wait! We are already talking about this. My bad.

  • SimonS

    I note that in the UK, the current big issue for state education is that the number of children is shortly going to exceed the number of places we have available in schools (particularly at the primary level).

    This is largely as a result of an upturn in the birth rate since 2001 that (for various reasons) didn’t make its way into projections of places required until 2008.

  • ostrava

    What do you want to do, Jcar?

    All right, you want to forbid abortion; got that.

    Do you want to forbid contraception? Really? In this non-Catholic country?

    I think of a female office colleague and good friend, now in her mid-fifties, who told me (with a little office-party hooch to loosen her tongue) that she and her husband had loved looking after and babysitting siblings’ children and now their grandchildren, and that the children seemed to adore them – but they had never wanted any of their own. Do you see something wrong, undesirable, anti-social, or sad about that? As a father, uncle, great-uncle myself; I don’t.

    Just get off people’s backs!