Creators of Abortion Comedy Gear Up for Protesters as Show’s Run Ends


Photograph by Hannah Van Sciver

Alice Yorke thinks people have a Google alert for the word “abortion.”

The 31-year-old South Philly resident was well aware that her musical comedy about the controversial topic would stir some opposition. And one night after the play debuted, opposition arrived – with massive, graphic, anti-abortion signs in hand.  Read more »

Cue the Protests: Philly Theater Company to Stage Musical Comedy About Abortion

An early workshop showing of Lightning Rod Special’s musical comedy about abortion, with co-creator Alice Yorke, center of the middle row.

Normally, when we get a press release from a local theater company about its latest work, the press release includes, you know, the name of the play. But Philly theater company Lightning Rod Special bucked that trend this week went they sent us a notice announcing its musical comedy about abortion, which debuts in August at the Painted Bride. Read more »

State-Funded Anti-Abortion Group Sues Pa. Auditor General

Eugene DePasquale

Eugene DePasquale

A state-funded anti-abortion group under financial investigation has sued Pennsylvania’s auditor general.

The group, Real Alternatives, alleges that auditor general Eugene DePasquale does not have the authority to investigate how the organization spends what he says is taxpayer money. It’s the first time DePasquale has ever been sued by an organization under audit.
Read more »

Controversial Abortion Bill Passes Senate Committee

Patricia Ireland, president of National Organization for Women (NOW), third from right, demonstrates with other NOW participants in favor of the Roe vs. Wade decision during the candlelight vigil on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. in 2000.

Patricia Ireland, president of National Organization for Women (NOW), third from right, demonstrates with other NOW participants in favor of the Roe vs. Wade decision during the candlelight vigil on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. in 2000.

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.

Read more »

Anti-Abortion Group Plans to Fly Massive, Graphic Banners Over Philly During DNC


anti-abortion-banner-2-940x540A 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 »

Pa. Senator Wants Abortion Regulation Law Repealed

abortion clinics

L: Courtesy of Senator Daylin Leach

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.

Read more »

What the Supreme Court Abortion Ruling Means for Pennsylvania

Pro-abortion rights protesters rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

Pro-abortion rights protesters rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 2, 2016.

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 »

Pa. House Votes for Abortion Ban After 20 Weeks


Governor Tom Wolf at a press conference in April.

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.

Read more »

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