State Capitol News
Wed March 5, 2008
House committee votes to restrict who can perform abortions
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – The House Health Committee voted Wednesday to bar nurse
practitioners from performing surgical abortions. Arizona Public
Radio's Howard Fischer reports.
The issue arose after the state Board of Nursing got a complaint
that Planned Parenthood allows a nurse practitioner to do some
procedures. The board is still debating whether that is within
the scope of practice. This measure would make that whole
discussion moot. Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy,
who is pushing the bill, told lawmakers it has nothing to do with
the fact her organization wants to outlaw all abortions or, at
the very least, impose new restrictions.
(You all know me as a pro life leader and activist. But this is
really in my view a women's health issue. It's about how women
are going to be taken care of who are having abortions and who
legally should be allowed to perform legal surgical abortions.)
But Michelle Steinberg of Planned Parenthood said nurse
practitioners have special training to do complex procedures.
(The scope of practice nurse practitioners have right now
includes things like IUD insertions, colposcopies, cryotherapy,
they're doing electrosurgical excisions. I mean they're doing
jugular catheters, lumbar punctures, bone marrow aspirations, all
of these what could be considered complicated and dangerous
procedures on a regular basis.)
A full House vote could come before the nursing board issues its
findings later this month.
For Arizona Public Radio, this is