By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
It’s one of those pieces of legislation that leaves you scratching your head, wondering, “What are the drafters of this bill trying to do here?”
House Bill 1786 is a bizarrely-worded bill which applies to “reproductive health care services,” an incredibly broad term which could include not only abortions, but hysterectomies and vasectomies as well. It might even pertain to the controversial practice of sex reassignment surgery for young people—who knows? How does one define “reproductive health care services”? Some supporters of the bill have scoffed when opponents brought this up, claiming that the bill was all about abortion. But if that’s so, why doesn’t the bill specifically say that?
A lawmaker told me the bill is blatantly unconstitutional, because it does not respect the rulings and laws of other states. State Representative Charity Grimm Krupa (R-Fayette County) made a similar argument on the floor, noting that lawmakers should defeat the bill in order to live up to their pledge to defend the U.S. Constitution.
Proponents of the bill are trying to scare lawmakers and the general public by claiming they need the bill to protect women from other states who come to Pennsylvania for abortions. But the pro-life movement in Pennsylvania has made it clear—women who undergo abortions are victims and should not be prosecuted.
So with that argument out of the way, it appears the bill could give rise to future Gosnells—unscrupulous physicians who harm women. Kermit Gosnell is the West Philadelphia abortionist who was ultimately convicted of murdering three newborns and of committing involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of a female immigrant patient, Karnamaya Mongar. He is now serving three consecutive life terms in prison.
But for years, Gosnell got away with harming women in his “House of Horrors” abortion facility because state health officials turned a blind eye to his awful practice. Under HB 1786, a woman hurt by a PA doctor performing an abortion in another state would not be able to sue for malpractice. In this way, Pennsylvania could become a safe haven for the Gosnells of the world.
This disaster of the bill now moves to the PA Senate for consideration. If you live in Pennsylvania, please send an immediate message to your state Senator to oppose the bill. You can do so now by clicking here.