Pennsylvania lawmakers just introduced yet another abortion ban.
House Bill 1948 would criminalize almost all abortion by any method after 19 weeks’ gestation, with no exceptions for rape, incest or fetal anomaly.
Members of the Health Committee in Pennsylvania House of Representatives plan to vote on this bill this afternoon. Click here to urge them to vote NO.
In addition to making abortion after 19 weeks a felony, HB 1948 includes an additional provision that attempts to criminalize a procedure known as a D&E at any stage of pregnancy. The D&E abortion procedure is the safest and most commonly used midterm abortion method. It is sometimes used in the first trimester. It is the same procedure that is used to complete a miscarriage.
If HB 1948 were to take effect, doctors would be forced to use less safe abortion techniques such as induction abortions, which no longer meet the standard of care. Physicians who are caring for women experiencing miscarriages would have to consult the hospital legal department first. And some doctors caring for pregnant women experiencing sudden, severe fetal complications would be forced to abandon patients in desperate need of care.
The New York Times recently reported a tragic case out of Texas, where doctors, after informing a woman that her pregnancy was no longer viable, were unable to terminate the pregnancy because of a similar 20-week ban there. As a result, she was forced to endure the days-long process as her body expelled the fetus—a medically unnecessary, painful ordeal.
HB 1948 is an attempt to criminalize doctors for administering best-practice medical care, and punish women with substandard care. It is also unconstitutional.
“This bill is not a serious effort to regulate abortion. It’s an abortion ban. It endangers women’s health because it criminalizes the safest and most common abortion procedure used as early as eight weeks of pregnancy,” says Sue Frietsche, senior staff attorney at the Women’s Law Project. “That violates the constitution.”
You would think that after spending a record-breaking 277 days finalizing last year’s budget, lawmakers would be interested in getting to work addressing real problems faced by real families in Pennsylvania. But no, bills that address pregnancy and nursing discrimination are left to gather dust in committees while they rush through an offensive bill such as HB 1948.
We also urge you to send emails, or call members of the House Health Committee.
Tell them to spend our tax dollars supporting legislation that would actually protect the women of Pennsylvania instead of scheming new ways to interfere in the doctor’s exam room, where they don’t belong.
The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.