Pa. Senator Wants Abortion Regulation Law Repealed

The Pennsylvania law enacted in 2011 works similarly to the Texas law overturned yesterday by the Supreme Court.

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.

“Abortion is a legal, Constitutionally-protected right that should be available to all women,” Leach said in a memo. “Pennsylvania’s abortion laws are forcing women and their families into desperate, life-threatening situations in which they must choose between the law, their health and their Constitutional rights.”

Local abortion providers said Act 122 had a tremendous impact on them. In 2013, NPR reported that there were “five fewer abortion clinics in Pennsylvania” since the law had been enacted.

In its majority opinion, the Supreme Court cited Philadelphia’s Kermit Gosnell, an abortion doctor imprisoned for life for killing three babies who were born alive in his West Philadelphia clinic.

The Supreme Court stated that additional regulation of abortion clinics would have done nothing to prevent such atrocities, as Gosnell was convicted of violating laws that were already on the books.

“We should be expanding access to reproductive health services, not closing clinics,” Leach wrote in the memo.

On June 21st, the Pennsylvania House approved a fast-tracked bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, instead of the current 24 weeks. Gov. Tom Wolf said he would veto the bill if it were to reach his desk.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.