Senate Passes Bill To Require State Medical Schools To Teach Abortion Procedures to OB/GYN Residents
The Senate yesterday passed a bill (AB 2194) that would require accredited medical schools in the state to teach abortion procedures to OB/GYN residents, the Los Angeles Times reports (Marosi, Los Angeles Times, 8/13). The legislation, which the Assembly passed earlier this year, would allow medical schools or individual residents with moral or religious objections to opt out of the requirement. However, the bill would require medical schools that decide not to teach abortion procedures to ensure that OB/GYN residents can receive the instruction at a different institution. The legislation would not establish standards for the instruction. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires medical schools to teach abortion procedures to OB/GYN residents, but more than half of OB/GYN residency programs nationwide to not adhere to the requirement (California Healthline, 8/12). Although the bill does not include additional enforcement measures, supporters said that the legislation would force the ACGME to "demand stricter compliance with its rules." Supporters also said that the bill would increase the state's "dwindling supply" of abortion providers. Several antiabortion groups opposed the legislation, which they said would require most OB/GYN residents to "learn to disregard the lives of humans in early stages." Analysts expect Gov. Gray Davis (D) to sign the bill.
In related news, the Assembly yesterday passed an amended version of a bill (AB 1860) that would require health care workers to provide emergency contraception to sexual assault survivors "upon request" (Los Angeles Times, 8/13). The bill was originally passed by the Assembly in April, and the Senate passed an amended version of the bill on Aug. 8 (California Legislature Web site, 8/13). The legislation would require hospitals to provide EC to rape survivors who ask for the pills when they receive medical treatment. Passage of the bill would make California the fourth state to require hospitals to provide EC to rape survivors (California Healthline, 4/25). Analysts expect Davis to sign the legislation.
The Assembly also may consider a third bill -- considered the "most significant of the three" by reproductive rights advocates -- in the near future, the Times reports. (Los Angeles Times, 8/13). The Reproductive Privacy Act (SB 1301) would mandate that "the state shall not interfere with a woman's fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to ... obtain an abortion," although the legislation would restrict abortion in cases where the fetus can survive outside of the womb (California Healthline, 5/17). Supporters said that the bill, which the Senate passed in May, would "strengthen" the state's abortion laws and ensure access to legal abortions in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide (Los Angeles Times, 8/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.