In the uproar after the discovery of the Gosnell atrocities, the members of Pennsylvania’s government decided to create new legislation to “protect” women getting abortions. In theory this is a good thing; women getting abortions deserve to be treated by caring doctors in safe facilities. No one could argue otherwise. What these bills would do in real life is very different than what they would do in theory.
First on the table was SB 574, which originated in the house. This bill adds stringent new requirements that all abortion clinics would have to meet in order to remain in business. These new requirements would include larger rooms, new heating and air conditioning equipments, as well as hospital quality elevators. In essence they will be held to the same standards as an ambulatory surgical center. This bill has been passed in the house and was sent to the state senate back in May.
The senate has a bill of its own to focus on though. SB 732 is a bill proposed to the state senate which in its original form added new restrictions to abortion clinics including tougher inspection and licensing standards, including yearly random inspections of all facilities. The original bill while tough is not unreasonable and will help ensure women are treated in a safe environment. On June 8th, 2011 an amendment was added to this bill that essentially makes it the equal of SB 574. Clinics that want to be able to perform abortions occurring after 9 weeks would still need to renovate their facilities to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. This amendment does allow for abortion under 9 weeks continue in the facilities already in use. This bill with its amendment is set to be voted on sometime during the week of June 13th.
These regulations would in no way help protect the health and safety of women and would actually have the opposite effect. Most of the abortion clinics in the state do not currently meet these requirements and would either have to increase the cost of their services to cover the cost of renovation or close entirely. Neither of these consequences have benefits for women; it will only make it more difficult for women to get an abortion by making them unaffordable and geographically inaccessible. This increases the likelihood that women will try to self induce abortions or go to unsafe, disreputable doctors both of which can lead to serious complications and risks the women’s health and well-being.
To contact your local legislative representatives and tell them you want safe facilities; not non-existent facilities go to http://www.legis.state.pa.us/index.cfm
Sources: Hoover, Andy. (2011, May 22). Retrieved from http://www.aclupa.org/downloads/memoSB732SenateMay11.pdf
American Women’s Services http://www.americanwomensservices.com/