SAN FRANCISCO, April 19, 2012 ( –  Although a legal loophole has long allowed the process, a California legislator has proposed a bill to formally allow non-physicians – including midwives – to perform abortions. Now a state pro-life group wants to know who has been anonymously paying for and conducting an existing training program.

State Senator Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, introduced a bill allowing non-physicians, such as midwives and nurse practitioners, to perform suction abortions after receiving training through a state project.


“I think it endangers women’s health,” Dana Cody, president and executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF), told “They’ll get more medical information if they get plastic surgery than they will if they undergo an abortion.”

The bill is sponsored by Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, NARAL Pro-Choice California, the American Civil Liberties Union of California, and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. It is supported by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

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The measure, S.B. 1338, codifies an existing loophole. Cody said California state law allows certain staff personnel to perform medical procedures, and the law does not specifically preclude abortion.

The University of California-San Francisco began offering the Health Workforce Pilot Project #171 (HWPP) to teach the abortion techniques to lower level medical staff in 2007. An estimated 40 people have completed the course.

However, much remains secret about the training.

Cody said $3.5 million of the funding for HWPP comes from an undisclosed private foundation. The names and records of the trainers and graduates were also missing.

LLDF petitioned UC-San Francisco for this information in late January. After ignoring the petition for more than a month, the university has yet to furnish all the public documents LLDF sought – so last Friday the legal rights group filed a Writ of Mandate to compel administrators to turn over these records.

“The purpose of the writ was to get information subject to public record, since it’s a University of California regent program, to see where the funding’s coming from and who’s doing the training. Do they have any reports against them?” Cody asked. “I think the public is entitled to know that.”

From the incomplete information officials have turned over, Cody said LLDF has learned “the agencies doing the training are Planned Parenthood and Women’s Health Services, which is a Sacramento-area clinic with a terrible history.”

“Is this just another way to get money for clinics?” she asked.

Increasing abortion and opening a lethal procedure to less qualified medical personnel are bad ideas under any circumstances, she said – but especially while so many unanswered questions remain.

“It just seems like with this issue of abortion, they have a free pass on so many levels,” Cody told LifeSiteNews.

LLDF will get its day in court on May 10 in the Superior Court in Alameda County.

A hearing on S.B. 1338 is scheduled for Thursday, April 26 before the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee.

Cody said concerned persons can contract their assembly member, and members of the committee, by visiting