Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pennsylvania NOW Outraged at Passage and Signing of Pennsylvania's New Anti-Abortion TRAP Law

This afternoon, Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Corbett signed into law SB 732. This is a TRAP law; it is not a law that will protect women's lives. As described by the Center for Reproductive Rights:

"TRAP" (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws single out the medical practices of doctors who provide abortions, and impose on them requirements that are different and more burdensome than those imposed on other medical practices. For example, such regulations [including the law just enacted here in Pennsylvania]… require that abortions be performed in far more sophisticated and expensive facilities than are necessary to ensure the provision of safe procedures. Compliance with these physical plant requirements [will] require extensive renovations or be physically impossible in existing facilities. TRAP laws [including this new Pennsylvania law]… allow unannounced state inspections, even when patients are present. These excessive and unnecessary government regulations – an ever-growing trend among state legislatures – increase the cost and scarcity of abortion services, harming women's health and inhibiting their reproductive choices.  

Make no mistake:  This bill is not about patient safety, it’s about politics.

The people behind these regulations want to shut down high quality reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood.  It’s part of their intent to make all abortion care illegal in this state, no exceptions.  This law will force abortion providers to have the same construction guidelines as outpatient surgery centers. These changes will force safe providers to either close their doors or pass the enormous increase in cost on to patients.

The new law is supported only by organizations opposed to legal abortion. No physicians, nurses, or others in the medical field were consulted in the drafting of the law. In fact, leading health rights groups and doctors overwhelming oppose and have vocally spoken out against this new, politically-motivated law.  These groups include the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the National Association of Social Workers, the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and dozens of doctors from across the state.

Pennsylvania NOW, in coordination with the Pennsylvanians For Choice Coalition, will evaluate the law and determine our next steps in opposing this law so at to help ensure that women across the state have access to locally available, safe, and legal abortion and reproductive health services despite this horrendous TRAP law.

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