While we prepare for the rally on Sept. 27th, it is important to remember that our voices are not just representative of women in Pennsylvania, but for women across the nation.
In 2011, the number of state abortion restrictions skyrocketed. In fact, according to the Guttmacher Institute, there are now 80 new restrictions on abortions spread over just 19 states. Some of the restrictions, like Ohio's heartbeat bill (which would render abortion illegal after 6-10 weeks) and the Gestational Ban in Kansas, Indiana, Oklahoma, Alabama and Illinois (which would render abortions illegal after 20 weeks) are based on the false claim that fetuses can feel pain, and are bills designed to slowly make abortion more stigmatized. Other restrictions, such as requiring counseling and a waiting period, which has been adopted by five states in 2011, are simply barriers to make obtaining an abortion more difficult.
The two bills being considered by the Pennsylvania state legislature have already been introduced in other states, and are little more than backhanded attempts to completely eliminate abortion providers. The first, Pennsylvania’s Senate Bill 3, which would ban insurance companies that cover abortion in an exchange, would ensure that women who already have plans that would cover their procedures would lose that coverage. These restrictions on abortion coverage are already in effect in eight states, including Nebraska and Utah. Pennsylvania’s Senate Bill 732 is strikingly similar to the law passed earlier this year in Virginia – the draft regulations just came out this past week. It would force abortion providers to comply with the same regulations as a hospital or surgical facility, an unnecessary and expensive mandate which could undoubtedly cause many providers to close down and cause the cost of procedures to rise.
Pennsylvanians who rally with us on Sept. 27th have a chance to speak out on behalf of themselves, but also a chance to speak out for all others living in a state where these restrictions may happen. And if you can’t attend in person, you can join us in solidarity by participating in the twitter rally going on at the same time! These attacks on women are nationwide, and while we can fight for our own individual state, we still must fight in unity.