Originally published April 24, 2012 at 11:34 a.m., updated April 24, 2012 at 2:31 p.m.
Vince Hall, Vice President of Public Affairs Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest
Opposition To The Bill
"My immediate response when I heard about this bill was visceral - I felt like I was kicked in the gut. I shouldn't be shocked at the moral failure this represents, but I fear what it says about our society that we are actually looking for more ways to abort babies. "
Brian Jones, Assembly Member, 77th District
A new bill to expand access to abortion in California is being heard by committee in the state legislature today.
The measure, written by state Senator Christine Kehoe of San Diego, would let nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants perform first-trimester abortions using a suction method.
There are about 24,000 of these providers in California.
Vince Hall, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, spoke to KPBS about the bill. He said other states have shown clinicians can safely perform the procedure and that a study that's been done over the last five years in California showed clinicians performed 18,000 suction procedures safely with high patient satisfaction.
"So this is a logical next step because it addresses a very significant problem in California, which is that more than half of our counties don't have a single abortion provider," Hall said. "So you have many women who have a constitutional right to choose, but they don't have any practical access to an abortion provider."
"His constituents would directly benefit from his support of this legislation," Hall said.
Vargus has not announced his position on the bill.
State Assemblyman Brian Jones said in a statement that the bill made him feel "like I was kicked in the gut."
Hall said he invites all opponents of abortion to join with Planned Parenthood to make abortion less necessary by providing access to birth control and sex education.
"I understand that there are heartfelt beliefs on both sides of the issue," he said. "Our goal is to both reduce unintended pregnancy, thereby reducing the need for abortion. At the same time, we are ensuring that legal, safe abortion is available to any woman who chooses to exercise that reproductive choice."