Hundreds Of People packed the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Wednesday morning to call for the defeat of two bills that will restrict abortion access in Pennsylvania. The bills, SB 732 and SB 3, would require abortion clinics to become licensed as outpatient surgery clinics, and ban state-run health insurance providers from covering abortion care. The rally followed Tuesday’s effort by Pennsylvania Republican legislators to pass the anti-choice bills in the House.
Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal led the crowd of local feminists, physicians, patients, clergy, and reproductive health advocates. Smeal stated, “Anti-choice forces throughout the US are no longer chipping away at Roe; they are undertaking a full scale campaign to outlaw abortion through unnecessary regulation and will continue this campaign to deny women access to birth control. The bills proposed in Pennsylvania are in many ways worse than the provisions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act. Make no mistake – this is not about protecting women’s health – it is about controlling women’s lives.”
The new licensing requirements would close abortion clinics, drive the cost of an abortion up from $400 to over $1,000 at clinics and do nothing to increase patient safety. These bills threaten to close the doors of low-cost, affordable clinics that provide comprehensive reproductive health care, including annual exams, pap smears, breast cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment. If the clinics are closed, preventative health care, including birth control, would become inaccessible to many uninsured and poor women in the state.
Sen. Jane Orie (R-Allegheny) described the anti-abortion legislation at the Capitol news conference as “paramount” to the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s anti-abortion rights “Pro-Life Caucus.”