Two days before the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, reproductive rights activists gathered outside City Hall in downtown Pittsburgh today to rally against a new law that puts restrictions on abortion providers.
Governor Tom Corbett signed SB 732 into law on December 22 in response to the Dr. Kermit Gosnell incident that occurred in Philadelphia last year. Gosnell was indicted last January in the deaths of seven babies and a woman at his clinic.
Ngani Ndimbie, the Pennsylvania Community Organizer for the American Civil Liberties Union, says that the restrictions put on abortion providers would limit access to abortions because the new regulations could cause the price of the procedure to go up.
"The restrictions are actually simply about the level of staffing that needs to be there — the size of operating rooms, the size of elevators, those types of specifications," Ndimbie said.
The law requires abortion clinics to comply with the same standards as ambulatory surgical facilities and have a registered nurse on duty at all times. The clinics must have larger operating rooms and driveways able to accommodate an ambulance.
Kim Evert, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania, says that they are currently looking at the legislation's regulations and figuring out what they mean. "Our number one priority, of course, is maintaining access, and so we will work to make sure that women continue to have access to these services," she said.
Clinics would have six months to comply with the regulations or apply to the state Department of Health for a waiver.