Pennsylvania Limits Access to Abortion Clinics and Insurance Coverage

Pennsylvania has joined the latest anti-choice trend by introducing bills that increase restrictions on abortion clinics or prohibits insurance coverage for abortions.

Last month, H.B. 574 passed Pennsylvania’s House legislature which mandates abortion clinics be held to the same standards as ambulatory surgical facilities.  These requirements, such as larger procedure rooms and wider hallways, will demand extensive amounts of time and money to implement.  These additional requirements will limit the number of abortion clinics and choice advocates fear it is an attempt to shut down abortion clinics.

These new restrictions would only allow two abortion clinics to function according to State Senator Pat Vance (R-Cumberland).  Vance believes enhancing regulations to encourage inspections, but disagrees with this bill. “It sounds good superficially, but it’s not. It’s unfortunate because we stayed away from the issue of having a clinic perform the way they should and adequate regulation by the Department of Health.”

Once again the excuse of protecting women but not their choice is being vocalized to aid the passage of this bill. “By applying the higher safety standard … we will take one giant leap forward from the substandard medical treatment many women are receiving today in Pennsylvania,” Sen. Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery) said.

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Pennsylvania’s Senate is predicted to take a final vote next week.

This past Tuesday, antichoicers rejoiced asPennsylvania’s Senate approved a bill (S.B. 3) prohibiting abortion coverage in policies gained through health insurance Exchanges created in the federal health care law.  Women will now have to buy supplemental coverage for abortions.

Debate did not occur regarding this ban.

Opponents of this bill argue that since federal law prevents taxpayer funding for abortion coverage, this bill is extending this restriction into private policies.  State Senator Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) acknowledged the purpose of the legislation as “It is supposed to make [legal abortion] as difficult as possible.”

The House will now vote on the bill.  If passed, Pennsylvania would join Idaho,Kentucky,Missouri,Oklahoma and North Dakota in this ban.

This debate on abortion joins the trend of choosing to focus on abortion as opposed to the economy and job creation.  Meanwhile, the state budget has not been agreed upon and is due in three weeks.



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