On December 14, 2011, after a raging legislative fight over women’s abortion care that lasted most of the past year, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Senate Bill 732 and sent it to Governor Corbett for his signature or veto. SB 732 will require safe, accessible abortion providers to comply with the burdensome and costly regulations now reserved for ambulatory surgical facilities, even though abortion is much safer and simpler than surgeries commonly conducted in ambulatory surgical centers.
Known as “TRAP laws,” (“Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers”), similar measures have been enacted in several states and are a tactic recommended by the National Right to Life Committee for closing down women’s clinics. Every medical and public health organization in Pennsylvania that has weighed in on the matter, including the unquestioned medical authority, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, opposes SB 732.
If SB 732 is allowed to take effect, most or all of the 20 existing freestanding clinics in Pennsylvania may have to stop offering abortion care temporarily, while they hire architects and contractors to transform their small clinics into sophisticated medical facilities; or they may close permanently, if they determine that their costs of making the required upgrades are prohibitive (particularly in light of the unavailability of public funding for abortion care). Instead of attending to the 37,000 Pennsylvania women who rely on them for safe care each year, providers will have to install hospital-grade elevators, acquire parking spaces and covered entryways, install specialized HVAC systems, double or triple the size of their procedure rooms, and rip up their flooring and install new flooring, among many other unnecessary and costly physical plant specifications.
The Women’s Law Project is busily at work on a legal strategy. The Governor could avoid not only litigation but also the potential of grievous harm to women simply by vetoing this bill. Please call him today, and tell him to veto SB 732, for the sake of the one in three women who will need abortion care by age 45.
GOVERNOR CORBETT: 717-787-2500
Honorable Tom Corbett
Governor of Pennsylvania
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA 17120
PLEASE DELIVER A MESSAGE TO GOVERNOR CORBETT:
RESPECT WOMEN’S HEALTH – VETO SB 732.