No Hearings, No Public Input, No Problem for Senators Passing Abortion Ban

Posted on February 8, 2017

CONTACT: Sari Stevens
717.234.3024 office 
sari.stevens@pppamail.org 

HARRISBURG, February 8, 2017 – Ignoring the voices of patients, advocates and medical professionals who have spoken out against a proposed abortion ban being fast-tracked without public comment, the full Senate today kept pace and plowed ahead by voting to approve the measure (S.B. 3) just 48 hours after a contentious committee vote and only days after it was formally introduced in the chamber.

“No hearings, no public comment, no problem for some of these senators who are more focused on pushing an extreme political agenda than they are with protecting women’s health,” said Sari Stevens, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates. “They turned their back on women’s reproductive rights to advance a measure that’s dangerous, intrusive and unconstitutional.”

The vote comes two days after the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill, which is sponsored by state Sen. Michele Brooks, R-Mercer County. The legislation was only introduced Feb. 2, meaning the bill flew through the entire Senate legislative process in less than a week. There still have been no public hearings, and qualified medical professionals who oppose the measure have not been consulted.

“That’s not a deliberative process,” Stevens said. “That’s a deliberate attempt to sidestep public debate and fast-track a measure that would give Pennsylvania the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation.”

Brooks’ bill is substantively identical to legislation (H.B. 1948) introduced last year by State Rep. Kathy Rapp, R-Warren County. Both measures would criminalize the safest medical procedure for second trimester abortions and impose a 20-week abortion ban in the commonwealth. Rapp is expected to re-introduce her own bill this legislative session.

Bills far less restrictive than Brooks’ proposal have already been deemed unconstitutional. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a decision permanently blocking Arizona’s ban on abortion at 20 weeks, and courts in Idaho and Georgia recently blocked similar bans. Furthermore, restricting doctors’ ability to choose the medical procedure that is safest for their patient has not been found to be legal anywhere.

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ABOUT PLANNED PARENTHOOD PENNSYLVANIA ADVOCATES

In partnership with the three Planned Parenthood affiliates in Pennsylvania, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, the state public affairs office in Harrisburg, works to achieve maximum public, governmental and media support for reproductive health care – including family planning – by developing, implementing and facilitating a statewide strategy.

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