Arizona Nursing Board Votes to Allow Nurses to Do Surgical Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 15, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Arizona Nursing Board Votes to Allow Nurses to Do Surgical Abortions

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 15
, 2008

Phoenix, AZ ( — The Arizona Board of Nursing voted Wednesday to put women’s health at risk by allowing nurse practitioners to do surgical abortions. The panel concluded that nurses with the right training can do aspirations abortions — suction abortions where the baby is killed and sucked out of the mother’s uterus.

The state board disagreed with an attorney for the pro-life Center for Arizona Policy who argued the decision puts the board opposite state law.

Most states have long-standing statutes on the books requiring that only licensed physicians are legally allowed to do abortions.

According to an East Valley Tribune report, only one member of the nursing panel dissented in the vote. The board also set forth a policy preventing nurses from doing abortions past the 13th week of pregnancy.

Deborah Sheasby, an attorney for the Center for Arizona Policy, attending the meeting and she said she thinks existing state law prevents nurses from doing abortions. She said her group may file a lawsuit against the nursing board to prevent nursing from doing them.

The vote and action at the state board comes on the heels of a request from a Tucson Planned Parenthood nurse for official approval for the surgical abortions she’s already done.

Mary Andrews has taken it upon herself to do abortions through 16 weeks of pregnancy since 2001.

The newspaper indicated the nursing board decided against penalizing Andrews saying it has never before ruled that nurses are prevented from doing abortions that late into pregnancy. Andrews said in March she would stop doing them up to 16 weeks and only do abortions early in pregnancy.

Reacting earlier to Andrews doing abortions, the Arizona legislature began the process of approving a bill to prohibit nurses and other non-physicians from doing abortions.

The House approved the measure along with a Senate committee and the bill is awaiting a debate in the full Senate.

While the legislature may approve the bill, pro-abortion Gov. Janet Napolitano would likely veto it as she has numerous pro-life bills in the past that place limits on abortions.

Related web sites:
Arizona Legislature –
Arizona Governor –