Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania organized a rally outside Sen. Jane Orie's (R-Allegheny) office in the North Hills Tuesday morning in response to her support for Senate Bill 732, commonly known as the Department of Health Abortion Facility Oversight Act.
They were also protesting Senate Bill 3, which would amend Federal Health Care legislation and bar health insurance exchanges in Pennsylvania, which will be created in 2014 as part of the national law, from covering abortions. Under the state legislation, customers of the insurance exchanges would have to buy coverage for abortions from a separate private insurer.
Orie is in support of both bills which have passed the Pennsylvania Senate and await action in the House.
Rebecca Cavanaugh, Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania, says although SB 732 is presented as protecting the health and well-being of women, it actually does the opposite, bringing women back to the illegal, unhealthy, often fatal practices of pre- Roe v. Wade days.
Bill 732 would make abortion facilities in Pennsylvania meet the same requirements as ambulatory surgical centers. This legislation was in response to a grand jury investigation that found a Philadelphia clinic performed abortions in a reckless and illegal manner causing unnecessary deaths.
In recent years, the number of state legislatures across the country limiting a woman's access to reproductive health has increased and made it increasingly cumbersome for women to seek health care.
"As of January, we saw 916 pieces of anti-choice legislation introduced to the state houses across the country. So this is beyond a trend, this is bordering on a mandated public health crisis. We have people pushing bills that would obscure Roe v. Wade in so many ways, it's hard to keep track of," said Cavanaugh.