Today, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is considering a bill which would make it more difficult for women in Pennsylvania to have access to abortion care. House Bill 574 would regulate abortion providers and require them to comply with the regulations for ambulatory surgical facilities as well as the regulations for ambulatory gynecological surgery.
House Bill 574 is not a step forward for women’s access to abortion care and would do nothing to protect patient health and safety. This bill calls for a set of regulations that are likely to be prohibitive for abortion providers to comply with – and only 22% of the counties in Pennsylvania have an abortion provider as the map above shows. This bill requires that operating rooms be at least 400 square feet when the procedure rooms in most abortion clinics are 100-150 square feet. Adding an extra 300 square feet to a procedure room would drastically decrease the amount of patients that a clinic could accommodate, would not increase the safety of the procedure, and force clinics to pass on the cost of making these renovations to the patients. When an early abortion procedure is already $350 – and Medicaid does not cover abortion except in very limited circumstances, forcing low-income women to pay for the procedure out of pocket – it is extremely easy to see how increased fees caused by regulation would make abortion inaccessible to many women. Making abortions difficult to access does not safeguard women’s health, it makes it more likely for women to seek illegal, unsafe abortions from people like Dr. Gosnell.
Regulations are already in place to keep abortion clinics safe, from required equipment and medical supplies, reporting requirements, staff licensing requirements, complications reporting and many other requirements in the code for Ambulatory Gynecological Surgery in Hospitals and Clinics. On top of that, abortion providers in Pennsylvania already have to comply with codes from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as well as regulations from the Abortion Control Act. The regulations that would be added under HB 574 are unnecessary since there are already extremely comprehensive regulations in place in Pennsylvania.
Call your state representative today and tell them – no on HB 574.