Need an Abortion? Better Go to Jersey

The Pennsylvania State House passed two bills this week that, if enacted, could make getting abortions here nearly impossible.

Looks like the Pennsylvania State House chipped away at abortion and women’s rights Monday night, passing two bills that, for some, could make the procedures nearly impossible to get in PA.

The first, HB1977, aims to revoke insurance coverage for abortions under President Obama’s healthcare bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Obamacare, as it’s called, would require states to create health insurance exchanges by 2014, under which residents can purchase state-regulated insurance plans. The bill passed Monday—by a vote of 146-44—would exempt abortion procedures from that coverage. The State Senate is considering a near identical bill.

The second bill, SB732, which originated and has already passed in the Senate, requires abortion clinics to undertake renovations to upgrade their facilities to match standards at “ambulatory surgical centers.” Opponents say such upgrades are completely unnecessary and so prohibitively expensive that most clinics wouldn’t be able to afford them. Enactment of the bill could result in the shuttering of most—if not all—of the 20 freestanding abortion clinics in Pennsylvania, according to Philadelphia Weekly. The bill passed the House by a vote of 151-44.

Pro-life groups, of course, support the bills; pro-choice groups are outraged. PW quotes a Planned Parenthood spokesperson who estimates that the Republican-run House and Senate have spent over 30 percent of their time this year talking about abortion. Amendments proposed by Democrats, including one that would provide an exception for women with severe medical conditions, were rejected.

HB1977 is off to the Banking and Insurance Committee in the Senate for consideration. SB732 will head back to the Senate, too, before landing on the desk of Governor Tom Corbett.