The Pennsylvania House is debating a bill Tuesday that would require clinics providing abortions to operate under the same regulations as outpatient surgery facilities. The measure stems from the outcry over deplorable conditions found at a clinic Philadelphia clinic run by Dr. Kermit Gosnell.
Republican lawmakers are still negotiating whether the bill would apply to all of the state's clinics providing abortions, or just a few. Opponents say tighter regulations would price clinics out of operation and limit the availability of abortion care.
"The people supporting the bill are those who believe women should have no access to abortion care. So now they're trying to tell us that women should have safe access to abortion care, and it's just completely disingenuous for them to say that," said Andrew Hoover, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.
Supporters say it is a matter of public health.
"If they're going to do a surgical procedure, they should be subjected to the same regulations as the other 212 ambulatory surgical centers, and what is just a disgrace is that they are trying to say that they're overregulated," said Representative Matthew Baker. (R-Bradford County)
A count by the Pennsylvania Health Department shows 22 certified clinics performing abortions in Pennsylvania.
If the bill passes the House, the Senate must still approve it before it goes to the Governor's desk.