San Diego Assemblywoman Toni Atkins speaks on new controversial abortion law

Local doctor says law is about profits

SAN DIEGO - We sat down with San Diego Assemblymember Toni Atkins after her controversial abortion bill, which was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week.

While Atkins argues that AB154 is all about access to abortion for women, a San Diego doctor says its more about profits for groups like Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry.

AB154 was authored by Atkins, who represents the 78th district.

Brown signed the controversial legislation as soon as it crossed his desk, giving California women more access to abortion.

“AB154 allows nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physicians assistants to do the abortion procedure in the first trimester up to 12 weeks,” said Atkins.

At 12 weeks, the baby's brain starts to make hormones and hair and nails begin to grow. Six weeks before that, the baby's heart first begins to beat.

Atkins said the landmark legislation that has also been enacted in New Hampshire, Vermont, Oregon and Montana is all about access for women.

“There are fewer and fewer and fewer providers who doing the procedure every year and it really impacts women's ability to get a legal abortion," said Atkins. "The medical society supports it, nurses groups support it, the medical establishment supports it because they know that this is good legislation."

But Dr. George Delgado, who practices family medicine here San Diego is against AB154 because he said it will put women at serious risk.

“Our California women deserve better," said Delgado. "We will have inadequately trained non physicians performing surgical abortions and they don't have the depth of training necessary to handle the complications such as bleeding, damage to the uterus and severe infection. The study underlying this law show that the non-physicians had twice the number of complications compared to the physicians and this was in a very highly controlled environment,."

The bill's supporters included the California Medical Association, the California Women's Health Alliance and the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project of Los Angeles County.

The bill’s opponents include the California Catholic Conference and the Traditional Values Coalition.

Brian Johnston, executive director of the California Pro-Life Council, said his group and others are considering a referendum or other legal challenge to the measure.

The coalition said the governor "has put profits of the abortion industry above the health and well-being of women and children."

Forty-seven nurse practitioners and other non-doctors have already been trained to provide abortions when the new law takes effect January 1, 2014.

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