By greater than a 2-1 margin, California voters oppose Assembly Bill 154, a state measure that would relax medical standards that currently require surgical abortions to be performed by a physician and would instead allow first trimester abortions to be performed by physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives.In a recent poll of California voters conducted by Smith-Johnson Research of Sacramento, nearly 65 percent of voters either strongly opposed or opposed the idea of allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to conduct abortions, while 29 percent favored or strongly favored such a law.By an even greater margin (76-18), voters rejected the notion of also giving nurse midwives the ability to provide abortions. The “oppose” vote, said Ned Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, cut across all demographics — men, women, African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Democrats, Republican, Independents. “It’s no secret that the Catholic Church opposes abortion, but this bill is particularly cynical,” said Dolejsi. “In the name of solving a non-existent problem — access to abortion — this bill would endanger women’s health and reduce the quality of health care. It’s clear that the overwhelming majority of Californians share our concerns.”“In the name of solving a non-existent problem — access to abortion — this bill would endanger women’s health and reduce the quality of health care. It’s clear that the overwhelming majority of Californians share our concerns.”—Ned Dolejsi, CCCAs to why voters reject the change in the law, the poll — which surveyed 600 registered voters in April 2013 with a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percent — put the answer squarely on public concerns over safety, Dolejsi noted. By a 66-15 margin, voters believe replacing doctors with nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurse midwives will make abortions less safe and put women’s health at risk.On July 8, AB 154 was passed by the Senate Health Committee and referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Opposed by the California Catholic Conference and a coalition of women’s health and pro-life organizations, the bill would allow non-physicians (including nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurse midwives) to perform first-trimester aspiration abortions — and would reclassify those first trimester abortions as non-surgical.To view the California Catholic Conference’s “Action Alert” page, visit http://capwiz.com/cacatholic/issues/alert/?alertid=62746041.