A while back, we told you about SB 574 and SB 732, bills out of the Pennsylvania legislature devoted to limiting access to abortion by placing burdensome regulations on abortion clinics. These regulations include room size requirements, staffing requirements, even elevator requirements. Experts say the passing of these regulations would likely cause most, if not all of the abortion clinics in the state.
Both bills are incredibly similar and either getting signed into law would have a similar impact. Right now, SB 732 is closest to passing. It originated and passed in the State Senate and this week it passed in the House.It passed with a 151 to 44 majority with only a few voting against it. It seems Pennsylvania lawmakers are unconcerned with the women in their state.
Though they say they are passing the law to protect women their actions will in fact only harm them. I’d love to say that maybe they just don’t realize the impact these regulations will have on the women in the state, maybe they think it will only impact the abortion providers. I’d love to, but I can’t. The few Representatives who voted against the bill made statements regarding its potential impact on women. In fact, during the 2011 session, lawmakers in Pennsylvania have spent 30% of their time debating abortion, so they are fully aware of the consequences of this bill.
According to Pittsburg Live “Rep. Phylllis Mundy, D-Luzerne County, said the legislation would mark a return to back-alley abortions because the physical changes needed to comply with the new law will put clinics out of business.” And “Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrell Hill, said it is part of national effort by pro-life legislators to circumvent the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.”
But lack of access to an abortion provider due to physical proximity is only one of the problems women will face. If any of the clinics in the state are able to make the necessary renovations, they will have to increase their prices in order to pay for the renovations. One estimate says costs for a first trimester abortion will likely go from in the $300’s range to approximately $1000. So not only will most women likely not have access to one near them, they will also have to come up with a significant amount of money they likely don’t have. One of the primary reasons women give for wanting an abortion is not having the money to support another child.
Let’s be real here for a second, although abortion may have been made legal as recently as 1973, it is not a new phenomenon. Women have been seeking ways to avoid getting pregnant and to end unwanted pregnancies for almost as long as we have been able to have cogent thoughts about pregnancy. The earliest recorded evidence of abortion was from an ancient Egyptian papyrus dated from around 1550 B.C.E., or in other words around 3500 years ago.
Women are not going to stop having abortions just because they can’t afford one. What they will do is go to illegal abortion providers or try to self induce with dangerous substances. They will get hurt and potentially die because state lawmakers refused to acknowledge these laws are not going to help anyone.
SB 732 heads back to the state Senate for final approval of alterations made by the House, (it is expected to pass there) and then goes to Governor Corbett (who is pro-life and also expected to approve it). The ACLU and Planned Parenthood have already indicated they will challenge the law in the court system if/when it is approved. Similar legislation has already been successfully challenged in other states.