A recent article published by the Guttmacher Institute gives us the chilling statistics to back up the fight we have all been facing in the Pennsylvania legislature.
In the first six months of 2011, states enacted 162 new provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Fully 49% of these new laws seek to restrict access to abortion services, a sharp increase from 2010, when 26% of new laws restricted abortion. The 80 abortion restrictions enacted this year are more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005—and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010.
These new provisions include mandatory counseling – in some cases counseling at anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers”, increased waiting periods, gestational bans (including the “heartbeat bill” in Ohio that makes abortion illegal before a woman may even know she is pregnant), banning abortion coverage in the new abortion exchanges, regulations on medicated abortion and targeting funding of providers.
These drastic measures across the U.S. are mirrored in Pennsylvania. Before going on its legislative recess the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill 3, banning abortion coverage in the new state insurance exchanges. Furthermore it is extremely likely that the legislature will begin its season in September by heaping ambulatory surgical regulations on to abortion facilities for no reason, as abortion facilities are already subject to ambulatory gynecological facilities regulations as well as the regulations laid out in the Abortion Control Act.
Not only would ambulatory surgical regulations not fulfill the stated goal of protecting women’s health, but on the contrary they will force abortion clinics through costly, and sometimes impossible, renovations. In many, if not most cases, the new regulations will shut down abortion clinics in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvanians for Choice, an affiliate of the Women’s Law Project, is planning a rally in Harrisburg when the legislature comes back from their summer recess. This rally is our chance to stand up and say We’ve Had Enough of legislative attacks on women’s rights.
Save the date: September 27, 2011. Come join us in Harrisburg!