Pennsylvania’s GOP-controlled Senate has passed a controversial bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Read more »
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is speaking out against a controversial anti-abortion measure that President Donald Trump enacted today. Read more »
A controversial bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks – instead of the current 24 – just passed a Senate Judiciary Committee, despite Governor Tom Wolf’s promises to veto the bill if it were to reach his desk.
House Bill 1948 passed the committee yesterday in a 9-5 vote during a rare July session. All Republicans voted yes, and all Democrats voted no.
In addition to the ban on abortions after 20 weeks, the proposed legislation calls for restrictions on the dilation and evacuation abortion procedure, through which the fetus is extracted using tools. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Kathy Rapp, refers to the dilation and evacuation procedure as “dismemberment abortion,” as fetuses are taken apart in the process.
It is the most common second-trimester abortion technique, according to Planned Parenthood. If the bill were passed, the procedure could be carried out only if the mother were at risk of death or grave injury.
A pro-life group called Created Equal wants to fly a graphic anti-abortion banner over the city during the Democratic National Convention this month.
According to a photo released by the group, the 50′ x 100′ banner will feature an aborted fetus and the words “rescue unborn children.”
Ohio-based Created Equal is targeting both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Planes will fly over each. Read more »
In the wake of yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down parts of an abortion regulation law in Texas, a Pennsylvania senator wants to repeal a law here that works similarly.
In Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court overturned a 2013 Texas law that required abortion facilities to meet the standards of “ambulatory surgical facilities.” Since the law’s enactment, the number of Texas abortion clinics has decreased from 41 to 18. The decision was the most sweeping statement on abortion since 1992, according to the New York Times.
In a memo to lawmakers, state Sen. Daylin Leach compared a Pennsylvania law, Act 122 of 2011, to the overturned Texas law. Act 122 also mandates that abortion clinics follow the rules of ambulatory surgical facilities.
Leach said that by repealing Act 122, Pennsylvania would be up to date with U.S. Constitutional requirements. He plans to introduce legislation to overturn the act in the near future.
A ruling by the Supreme Court today overturning parts of an abortion regulation law in Texas has ties to Pennsylvania.
The Supreme Court specifically cited the case of Philadelphia’s Kermit Gosnell in its ruling today on Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt. “Gosnell’s behavior was terribly wrong,” the court wrote in its majority opinion. “But there is no reason to believe that an extra layer of regulation would have affected that behavior.”
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion, joined by Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.
“The Court has affirmed what we already knew: strategically over-regulating healthcare facilities that provide abortion care so that they are forced to close does nothing to protect women’s health, despite the disingenuous claims of anti-abortion lawmakers, in Texas and here in Pennsylvania,” said Sue Frietsche, senior staff attorney at the Philadelphia-based Women’s Law Project (which had its amici brief cited in Ginsburg’s concurrence). “These mean-spirited, misguided attacks on women’s health are plainly unconstitutional and they need to stop.”
The Texas law, passed in 2013, required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and mandates all clinics in the state to meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers — including regulations concerning buildings, equipment and staffing. It shrunk the number of abortion clinics in the state from 41 to 18. The Supreme Court ruled those parts of the Texas law to be unconstitutional. Read more »
The state House approved a fast-tracked bill Tuesday that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The bill, which now heads to the Senate, passed with bipartisan support.
Governor Tom Wolf said in a statement yesterday that he would veto the controversial bill if it reached his desk. Wolf referred to a press conference earlier this year at which he spoke about the bill alongside women’s rights advocates.
“This legislation would be a step backwards for women and for Pennsylvania,” Wolf said in the statement. “If it passes the house, I urge the Senate to reject it. If this legislation reaches my desk, I will veto it. This is a bad bill for Pennsylvania and we cannot afford to allow it to go forward.”
The bill, which is sponsored by Warren County Republican Kathy Rapp, could potentially imprison doctors who perform abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in the case of medical emergencies. Abortions are currently banned after 24 weeks.
If you want to get Joan Heider going, bring up H.B. 1948, the oh-so-appropriately numbered anti-abortion bill that’s gliding through the state legislature like a hot knife through butter. “Oh my God, that bill,” Heider says darkly as she sips tea in a coffee shop on Arch Street. “They can’t pass a budget, but this bill gets pushed through in three days?”
Heider, 27, pushes her red hair back over her shoulder. “It’s an insidious attack,” she declares. “They insist they’re passing it to help women. That’s what Kathy Rapp” — the state representative who sponsored H.B. 1948 — “called her last bill in 2012, the one that pushed ultrasounds on women seeking abortion: ‘Women’s Right to Know.’” She’s getting even more worked up. “People pushing pro-life have a very simplistic understanding of women’s reproductive rights. Their activism doesn’t spring from a desire to protect the unborn; it’s to control women’s lives. They’re pro-no-sex-for-women. You can tell they’re hypocritical because they’re not in favor of birth control!” She pauses for breath, and her friend Caitlin Dalik takes over:
“I’m tired of constantly getting emails that say ‘Call your senator! Act now to save women’s right to choose!’ Abortion is legal. We have to counteract the pro-lifers who’ll get on buses to D.C. at 5 a.m.” Read more »
A controversial bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks is on the schedule for Wednesday’s house session, according to Steve Miskin, spokesman for Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Dave Reed. At that time a vote may take place or could be postponed. The bill passed out of the House Health Committee on Monday.
In addition to shortening the timeline for legal abortions from the current 24-week cut-off, House Bill 1948 would also ban what it calls “dismemberment abortions” — a procedure currently known as dilation and evacuation, it involves dilating the uterus then removing the fetus using a vacuum and surgical tools. It is one of the main abortion methods for women in their second trimester.
The bill is primarily sponsored by staunch pro-life advocate State Rep. Kathy Rapp (R), of the 65th district. The bill currently has 101 co-sponsors, at least 11 of whom are Democrats. In a November memo sent to house members to gain sponsorship for the bill, Rapp and co-sponsors Rep. Bryan Barbin and Rep. Bryan Cutler wrote one of their primary reasons in creating the bill was because of evidence that the babies are capable of feeling pain at that stage. Read more »
Sen. Larry Farnese is pushing a bill that would punish harassment of women entering abortion clinics — and give prison sentences to anybody who injures or kills a woman entering a clinic.
Farnese, the Philly Democrat, introduced the bill earlier this month. He promoted it Wednesday with a “Twitter Town Hall” held online with pro-choice and other liberal Pennsylvania groups.
“I have escorted women through crowds of protesters and I have witnessed the verbal and physical harassment that has been angrily directed towards them,” Farnese said in introducing the bill. “The walk from the curb to the clinic door should never be the last one of their lives, so people need to know that if they hurt someone they can be punished with felony crimes and big fines.” Read more »