Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R) is expected to sign a bill that will require clinics that perform abortions meet the same regulations of surgical centers, which are far more stringent than the regulations on physician’s offices. Required changes could include widening hallways and elevator shafts, creating more sinks and bigger surgical rooms, and making alterations to the clinics’ ventilation systems. The bill passed the Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday and the state House on Tuesday.
The new regulations may cause many of the state’s 22 women’s health clinics that perform abortions and provide necessary women’s reproductive health services, such as STI testing, cancer screenings, and family planning, to shut down as a result of the cost to implement the required changes. These regulations will significantly and unnecessarily increase the cost of early abortions and will make it more difficult to get an abortion in Pennsylvania.
In September, the Virginia Board of Health voted to adopt similar regulations of first-trimester abortion clinics requiring architectural renovations to change clinics into hospitals and change government oversight. Under the regulations, state authorities can enter a clinic to inspect at any time without notice to examine patient medical records, gather a list of current patients, and interview patients on site potentially violating both patient and provider privacy. These regulations on first-trimester abortion providers are the most extreme seen to date in the nation.
Associated Press 12/22/11; Philadelphia Inquirer 12/15/11; Jezebel 12/14/11