Opinion: We stand in opposition to PA House Bills 118, 904, 1500 and 1095. So should you - Generocity Philly

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May 25, 2021 12:01 pm

Opinion: We stand in opposition to PA House Bills 118, 904, 1500 and 1095. So should you

Anti-abortion lawmakers are launching an aggressive assault on the rights of those who experience miscarriage, face a complicated pregnancy or exercise their legal right to abortion, say guest columnists Lizbeth Rodriguez, Elicia Gonzales and Signe Espinoza.

"The obvious aim of these bills is to further stigmatize and criminalize people seeking abortions as well as  their healthcare providers."

(Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash)

This guest column was cowritten by Signe Espinoza, interim executive director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates; Elicia Gonzales, executive director of the Women’s Medical Fund; and Lizbeth Rodriguez, community engagement coordinator for the Philadelphia Women’s Center, Delaware County Women’s Center and PA State Infrastructure Project.

Editor’s note: Nineteen organizations have signed on to this statement from PA sexual and reproductive health advocates. They are are listed at the end of the column.


We are people who care about the wellbeing of our communities and fight to ensure that everyone has  access to the abortions they seek, no matter their zip code, income, reason, or gestational age.

We represent thousands of abortion seekers and providers and we stand in staunch opposition to House Bills 118, 904, 1500, and 1095. Let’s call this what it truly is — white supremacy in action.

The obvious aim of these bills is to further stigmatize and criminalize people seeking abortions as well as  their healthcare providers. Undoubtedly, each of these harmful bills will create more punitive barriers  to care, especially for people of color, LGBTQ folks, young people, and people with low incomes — folks  who already face multiple, significant obstacles to accessing the care they deserve.

Not only are these  bills cruel and violent, they are especially appalling given that these anti-abortion legislators continue to waste time and resources introducing bills that have nothing to do with supporting our communities during a pandemic, and everything to do with control and perpetuating white supremacy.

Despite the continued challenges we are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania’s extremist anti-abortion lawmakers are launching an aggressive assault on Pennsylvania families who are  experiencing miscarriage, navigating complicated pregnancies, or exercising their legal right to abortion care.

Now, as threats to abortion rights are mounting at the Supreme Court, Pennsylvania’s extremist  anti-abortion lawmakers are working to push abortion access further out of reach for Pennsylvanians who face significant structural inequities in access to the resources, including healthcare, we all need to  thrive.

Rep. Francis Ryan introduced an “embryonic/fetal burial” bill (HB 118) that furtively requires patients to obtain  a death certificate after experiencing miscarriage or having an abortion, forces them into potentially  traumatizing conversations they can already have if they choose, and creates a public record of  pregnancy outcomes that violates their privacy, compromises their safety, and further stigmatizes  people seeking abortions.

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Each of these harmful bills will create more punitive barriers to care, especially for people of color, LGBTQ folks, young people, and people with low incomes.

Rep. Stephanie Borowicz initiated a “6-week” ban (HB 904) banning abortion before many people even know they  are pregnant. A similar bill was recently passed in Texas and will undoubtedly be struck down just like  the same ban was last year in Georgia for being unconstitutional. Clearly Rep. Borowicz only cares about  individuals in utero or else she would not have voted down two bills designed to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse receive justice (HB 951 and HB 14.)

Rep. Kate Klunk has introduced a bill cloaked as a protection for individuals with Down syndrome (HB 1500) but this bill has nothing to do with supporting people with disabilities or their families. Like other  “reason bans,” this bill is a blatant attempt to restrict access to abortion and perpetuate false stereotypes about the one in four women who have abortions.

Finally, Rep. Rob Kauffman has sponsored legislation (HB 1095) that would create a mandatory life sentence for third degree “murder of an unborn child.” This bill is an obvious attempt to threaten abortion rights and  expand the state’s capacity to punish individuals seeking and providing abortion care.

Pennsylvania law and regulation already imposes radical restrictions on those seeking and providing abortions, including coverage bans, a gestational ban, a reason ban, Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers, forced parental involvement and consent, biased counseling, and waiting period  requirements.

This statement demonstrates our collective commitment to holding anti-abortion legislators  accountable and working together to destigmatize abortion and create the transformative change needed to ensure and expand abortion access.

We are here, we are paying attention, and make no  mistake: we will not stop until all people have access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortions.

In solidarity,

  • ACT UP Philadelphia (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power)
  • Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center
  • Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition
  • Catholics for Choice
  • Delaware County Women’s Center
  • Keystone Progress Education Fund
  • Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition
  • Medical Students for Choice
  • National Council of Jewish Women of Greater Philadelphia
  • National Council of Jewish Women – PA
  • National Institute for Reproductive Health
  • Philadelphia Women’s Center
  • Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates
  • Planned Parenthood Keystone
  • Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania
  • Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign
  • Shut Down Berks Coalition
  • Women’s Law Project
  • Women’s Medical Fund
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