Advocates: Pennsylvania in ‘descent’ toward abortion ban

planned parenthood pa advocates
Planned Parenthood Pa Advocates recently rallied outside the state capitol. (Credit: Facebook/Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates)

The state House of Representatives on Tuesday passed House Bill 818, continuing what Planned Parenthood PA is calling the state’s “descent” toward an outright abortion ban.

The legislation would ban insurance companies from offering policies through the state exchange that cover abortion services outside instances of law enforcement-reported rape and incest.

An identical bill recently passed a state Senate committee and is set to go to the Senate floor for a full vote.

“Proponents of this bill continue to mislead the legislature and the public, characterizing the debate as centered on taxpayer funding of abortion,” Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates executive director Sari Stevens said in a statement.

“Nothing could be farther from the truth. House Bill 818 bans the purchase of insurance coverage of abortion with private dollars, end of story. The disingenuous and purposeful misinformation that has been circulated about House Bill 818 and Senate Bill 3 is truly shameful.”

She said elected officials and lobbyists pushing the bills are attempting to “confuse the legislature into submission.”

Stevens said officials and lobbyists pushing the bill have precluded an honest debate by perpetuating mistruths about their end goal, which Stevens believes to be the elimination of all safe access to abortion services in Pennsylvania.

“Even more shocking is that this bill is so ideological and blind-sighted as to refuse to give women with serious health problems like cancer any consideration,” Stevens said.

That means even in cases where a pregnant woman’s health is in serious jeopardy, the cost of the abortion procedure would be paid entirely by the woman or her family.

“Imagine a woman who owns her own business, who chooses to buy her insurance on the exchange, who pays her premiums every month and during a much anticipated and desired pregnancy develops cancer,” Stevens said.

“The Pennsylvania legislature has decided to tell her that she’s out of luck and has to foot the bill herself. That is beyond cruel. The voters are fed up with the divisive social agenda of this legislature and with elections around the corner again, it’s a surprisingly risky and heartless move.”

A recent poll shows 79 percent of Pennsylvania voters support insurance coverage of abortion to protect a woman’s health.

“Failing to provide for this exception is not only bad policy,” Stevens said. “It’s in stark contrast to public opinion.”


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