HARRISBURG – Just weeks into the new legislative session, the Pennsylvania Senate today passed legislation to further limit access to abortion care in the commonwealth. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania joined the chorus of medical professionals and other civil rights advocates who have denounced the legislation.
“Once again, politicians in Harrisburg are donning their white coats and pretending they know better than trained physicians what medical care is appropriate for women,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “The bill the Senate passed today would prevent doctors from making decisions based on medical science and put women's health at serious risk.”
Senate Bill 3 bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and prohibits a medically proven method of abortion. Current law prohibits abortion after 24 weeks.
The bill has drawn opposition from the Pennsylvania Medical Society, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and more than 75 physicians who provide reproductive health care to women in Pennsylvania. Yet the Senate failed to hold a hearing on the bill and provide adequate opportunity for medical professionals and women who have sought later abortion care to share their expertise.
Elizabeth Randol, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, urged the Senate to take up other bills that in fact promote women’s health and support families, such as bills to strengthen protections for pregnant and nursing women in the workplace.
“The Senate is wasting its time trampling on Pennsylvanians’ reproductive freedom, rather than making sure that pregnant and breastfeeding workers have the protections they need to stay healthy on the job,” Randol said. “With so many critical issues facing women and families in Pennsylvania, the Senate should rethink its priorities.”
The bill now heads to the House for its consideration.