Friday, May 20, 2011

Action Alert: Two Anti-Choice Bills Up for Vote on Monday May 23 in PA Senate

We have just been advised that the Pennsylvania Senate is scheduled to vote on two abortion-related measures on MONDAY AFTERNOON, MAY 23rd.
The first bill is SB 3 which would ban abortion coverage in any health care plan in the new health care exchanges created with the new Federal health care law. The second bill is SB 732. It would license abortion providers, create a consumer complaint system, and provide for unannounced Department of Health inspections prior to licensing and in response to any reported serious events.
Please contact your state Senator and tell him/her to vote NO on both SB 3 and SB 732. The message for each bill is slightly different. You can find your Senator's contact information at See below for details.
Messages to Give to Your Senator on SB 3
SB 3: This bill would ban abortion coverage in the insurance exchange to be set up by 2014 as part of health care reform, even if the insured pays for a separate policy with her own money. You can review our previous blogs on this bill here, here, and here. There are two sets of messages to tell your Senator:

SUPPORT the following amendments to Senate Bill 3

  1. Complying with Federal Health Care Law Amendment:
Insurance coverage for abortion may be purchased through the health insurance exchange using private funds pursuant to the funding and segregation rules set forth in Section 1303 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
  1. Insurance Choice Amendment:
An insurance plan shall neither be required to provide nor prohibited from providing insurance coverage for abortion services.

  1. Health Exception Amendment:
In cases in which the woman became pregnant through an act of rape or incest, or where, in the good faith judgment of the physician, an abortion is medically necessary for reasons other than rape or incest.
Message 2:
VOTE NO on SB 3; Women need insurance coverage of abortions. Senate Bill 3 would:
  • Prohibit any insurance company that contracts with the health care exchange from providing coverage for abortion services
  • Prohibit this coverage except in cases of death or rape or incest that has been personally reported
  • Prohibit a woman from using her own private money to purchase abortion coverage, though this separation is mandated by the Nelson amendment to the federal health care reform law – the Affordable Care Act.
Messages to Give to Your Senator on SB 732

SB 732: This bill would license abortion providers, create a consumer complaint system, and provide for unannounced Department of Health inspections prior to licensing and in response to any reported serious events. We have major concerns about the harassment potential SB 732 presents. It may be made even worse if Senator Mensch gets his way and  amends the bill to require abortion providers upgrade to ambulatory surgical facility standards; this amendment, just like HB 574, if passed, will likely cause most of our 20 free-standing clinics to close, curtail the services they provide, and/or increase the cost of a procedure beyond many women's reach.

VOTE NO on Mensch Amendment TO SB 732.
VOTE No on SB 732 due to its potential to harass clinics and invade women's right to privacy.

And finally, here is the overall message for both SB 3 and SB 732

Pennsylvania law should support the provision of safe, legal abortion and not stigmatize the procedure and push it into the hands of illegal, dangerous practitioners who threaten and endanger women’s lives and health. The situation in the Gosnell clinic happened because the PA Department of Health was not enforcing existing regulations. If we want to avoid more “clinics of horror” like the one in Philadelphia, then we need to urge our senators not to support these unreasonable proposals that will in turn hurt women rather than help them.

Allow women to continue their full reproductive health care coverage (NO on SB 3) and oppose onerous additional regulations that could send women to unsafe and unregulated or out-of-state providers (NO on SB 732).

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