New PA Abortion Law Grants Licenses to 14 Clinics

But did the law ultimately slash or strengthen women's rights today?

Today’s sunrise brought with it the implementation of a new PA state law, one that has drummed up a tremendous amount of controversy and outcry over the past several months.

The law, which was enacted in December but became effective today, requires abortion clinics performing surgical abortions to meet the same medical and construction standards as other outpatient surgical facilities. So basically, it calls for stricter guidelines for abortion surgeons and their facilities. Doesn’t sound too terrible, right?

Not according to pro-choice groups, who feel the legislation was “burdensome” and not driven by safety concerns, but rather by pro-life beliefs, according to The Inquirer. Their concern was that these tougher (and costly) regulations would wind up shutting down clinics, rather than making them safer, forcing superfluous building renovations and the purchase of new equipment that isn’t necessary to provide safe abortions.

Despite these concerns, 14 of Pennsylvania’s 22 abortion clinics have been licensed to continue performing surgical abortions. But (and this is important), all but one of these licenses is contingent upon meeting new construction requirements, which clinics have three to six months to complete. If they don’t have the money to complete the jobs, they won’t be continuing the operations.

Of the eight clinics that didn’t get licenses, state officials say just one, in the Pittsburgh area, will discontinue its abortion services altogether. The others have paired with medical centers at universities like PITT and Penn or found other alternatives.

The law came as a response to conditions discovered two years ago at the Women’s Medical Society, a clinic in West Philadelphia. Prosecutors in the case say newborn babies were routinely killed in illegal, late-term abortions which were performed by workers who weren’t properly trained.