Pennsylvania | In the News

Pa. lawmaker introduces TRAP repeal legislation
A Pennsylvania lawmaker on Wednesday proposed legislation that would repeal provisions of a state law Rewire reports.

Pa. Senate committee advances abortion restrictions
The Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday voted 9-5 to advance a bill (HB 1948) that would impose several abortion restrictions, PennLive reports.

Texas abortion providers evaluate reopening after SCOTUS ruling; decision could be used to strike down TRAP laws elsewhere
Texas providers who are interested in reopening facilities that closed under the law are determining how to proceed in light of the Supreme Court's ruling, which struck down contested provisions of Texas' omnibus antiabortion-rights law (HB 2), the New York Times reports.

Pa. House approves abortion ban
The Pennsylvania House on Tuesday voted 132-65 to approve legislation (HB 1948) that would impose several abortion restrictions, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.

Pa. Senate considers abortion bans
Pennsylvania Sen. Michele Brooks (R) last week introduced a Senate version of legislation (SB 888) that would impose several abortion restrictions, Rewire reports.

Federal appeals court allows lawsuit challenging Pittsburgh 'buffer zone' to go forward
A federal appeals court on Wednesday in a 3-0 decision allowed a lawsuit challenging a Pittsburgh "buffer zone" ordinance to go forward, Reuters reports.

Pa. audit presents questions about publicly funded CPC org's activities
A Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) audit of an antiabortion-rights crisis pregnancy center (CPC) organization has prompted questions about how the organization is using money that it has set aside, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Featured blogs
"Legislating medicine: More than 1,000 provisions already introduced in 2016," (Women's Law Project blog, 4/22); "Florida tries to defund Planned Parenthood, quickly learns that doing so is illegal," (Stern, "XX Factor," Slate, 4/22).

CQ Magazine examines conservative states' attempts to defund abortion providers
Conservative states are employing several different strategies to block abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, from receiving public funding, CQ Magazine reports.

Featured blogs
4/11); "Pregnancy, drug use, and why prison is not the solution" (Mollman, Huffington Post blogs, 4/11).

Pa. House delays vote on antiabortion-rights bill
Conservative leaders in the Pennsylvania House on Monday delayed a vote on a bill (HB 1948) that would impose several abortion restrictions, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Pa. House rejects effort to delay vote on bill with abortion care bans
The Pennsylvania House on Wednesday voted 114-73 to reject an effort by liberal state lawmakers to postpone voting on a bill (HB 1948) that would impose several abortion restrictions, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.

Pa. House committee advances bill with bans on abortion care
The Pennsylvania House Health Committee on Monday voted 16-10 to advance a bill (HB 1948) that would impose several abortion restrictions, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Pa. bill would impose 20-week abortion ban, prohibit medically proven method of abortion
Pennsylvania House lawmakers on Friday referred to the House Health Committee a bill (HB 1948) that would impose several abortion restrictions, AP/Lancaster Online reports.

Penn. residents file legal challenge against Harrisburg 'buffer zone'
Citing a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, three Pennsylvania residents on Friday asked a federal judge to overturn a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, ordinance that establishes a 20-foot "buffer zone" around abortion clinics and other medical facilities, PennLive reports.

Featured Blogs
"43 Years After Roe v. Wade, It's Back to the Supreme Court To Block a Dangerous Sham Law Out of Texas" (Northup, Salon, 1/26); "How the Nationwide Crusade Against Planned Parenthood Is Failing, in One Map" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 1/26).

Featured Blog
"Preventing the Next Kermit Gosnell," David Cohen et al., Slate's "XX Factor" (Cohen, "XX Factor," Slate, 1/15).

Report: Nearly 50 Measures Restricting Repro Health Passed in 2015
States passed about 50 restrictions on reproductive health care in 2015, according to a new report from the Center for Reproductive Rights, The Hill reports.

States Can Combat Antiabortion-Rights Restrictions by Protecting Patient-Provider Relationship
Pennsylvania and several other states have proposed measures that aim to protect "women's access to evidence-based health care" in response to an increase in antiabortion-rights laws targeting the patient-provider relationship, according to a new issue brief in Newsweek from the National Partnership for Women & Families and the Center for American Progress.

Okla. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments over Antiabortion-Rights Law
An Oklahoma Supreme Court referee on Tuesday heard oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law (SB 642) that imposes multiple restrictions on abortion providers and patients, AP/KJRH reports.

Stakeholders Voice Concerns About Ind. Health Dept. Contract With Antiabortion-Rights Organization
Several stakeholders have expressed concern about a recent decision by the Indiana Department of Health to grant a one-year, $3.5 million contract to an antiabortion-rights organization that counsels women against abortion and provides misleading information about the procedure, the Indianapolis Star reports.

Featured Blogs
"Is Defunding Planned Parenthood Against The Law? These States Better Watch Out," (Barbato, Bustle, 8/13); "Alabama, Jane Doe, and the Dangers of Fetus-First Laws," (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 8/12).

Majority of Voters in Three Swing States Oppose Efforts To Defund Planned Parenthood
Nearly 70% of voters in New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania oppose a push by lawmakers who do not support abortion rights to defund Planned Parenthood, according to a poll released by Planned Parenthood on Monday, The Hill reports.

Featured Blogs
"Federal Court Blocks North Dakota Heartbeat Ban, Calls on the Supreme Court To Overturn 'Roe'" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 7/22); "Women's Law Project Files Amicus Brief in Pittsburgh Buffer Zone 3[r]d Circuit Appeal," (Murtha, Women's Law Project blog, 7/22).

Featured Blogs
"States Enact 51 Abortion Restrictions in First Half of 2015: Mid-Year Analysis," (Nash/Benson Gold, RH Reality Check, 7/14); "How Crisis Pregnancy Centers Are Using Taxpayer Dollars To Lie to Women," (Kutner, Salon, 7/14); "The Battle To Bring Sex Education to the City With the Second Highest STD Rate in the Country," (Lerner, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/16).

La. House Panel Advances Bill To Ban Abortion Based on Sex of Fetus
Louisiana's House Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday unanimously voted to advance legislation (HB 701) that would ban abortions based on a fetus' sex, the AP/Belleville News-Democrat reports.

Plaintiffs Drop Some Claims To Appeal Pittsburgh 'Buffer Zone' Ruling
Five abortion-rights opponents have dropped allegations that city officials selectively enforced a Pittsburgh "buffer zone" ordinance in order to facilitate an appeal of a federal ruling that found the ordinance is constitutional, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

Featured Blogs
"Pro-Choice Win: Federal Court Upholds Pittsburgh Buffer Zone" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 3/10); "'Marlise's Law' Would Give Pregnant Texans Advance Directive Rights" (Grimes, RH Reality Check, 3/12).

Federal Judge Denies Request for Injunction Against Pittsburgh 'Buffer Zone'
A federal judge on Friday denied five abortion-rights opponents' request for an injunction to block enforcement of a Pittsburgh "buffer zone" ordinance, the AP/York Enquirer Herald reports. However, the judge permitted the underlying case to move forward.

Featured Blog
"Judge Upholds Pittsburgh Buffer Zone in First Federal Ruling Since McCullen" (Women's Law Project blog, 3/9).

Opinion: Bipartisan Pa. Agenda Improves Women's Health Through Policy Changes
The Pennsylvania Agenda for Women's Health -- "an ongoing, pro-choice campaign that addresses women's equality, safety and economic stability" -- is shaped around policy measures that embrace an "inclusive definition of women's health [that] recognizes that women and their families cannot be healthy if they are financially insecure, physically unsafe, or otherwise subjected to gender bias and discrimination," Amal Bass of the Women's Law Project writes in the Pennsylvania Legal Intelligencer.

Featured Blogs
"Five States Allow Women's Health Medicaid Programs To Lapse," (Molozanov, "RegBlog," Penn Program on Regulation, 1/7); "Fifth Circuit Panel Peppers Attorneys With Tough Questions on Texas Abortion Law," (Grimes, RH Reality Check, 1/7).

Featured Blog: 'Five States Allow Women's Health Medicaid Programs To Lapse'
Dori Molozanov writes that the expiration of some Medicaid waiver programs at the end of 2014 means that "[w]omen in five states" -- Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon and Pennsylvania -- "may be without affordable access to important health and family planning services, including routine cancer screenings and contraception."

Featured Blogs
"The Good, the Bad, and the Truly Appalling: What Happened to Reproductive Rights in 2014" (Easter, "Womenstake," NWLC, 12/31/14); "Federal Court Agrees: Women Can't Be Forced To Have an Ultrasound Before an Abortion" (Mathews, Care2, 12/23/14); "New Jersey Supreme Court: Methadone Treatment While Pregnant Not Child Abuse" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 12/23/14).

Federal Judge To Decide Pittsburgh 'Buffer Zone' Case After Parties Fail To Reach Agreement
A U.S. District Court judge will rule on five antiabortion-rights activists' request for an injunction blocking enforcement of a Pittsburgh "buffer zone" ordinance after the city and the activists failed to reach a compromise, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

Federal Judge Delays Final Ruling in Pittsburgh 'Buffer Zone' Lawsuit
A U.S. District Court judge earlier this week gave attorneys until Dec. 19 to reach an agreement on a lawsuit challenging a Pittsburgh ordinance that created a 15-foot "buffer zone" around abortion clinics, the AP/WTAE News reports.

Pa. Gov.-Elect Must Act To Improve 'Deplorable' Status of Women's Health in State, Op-Ed Urges
Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Tom Wolf's (D) pledge to expand Medicaid coverage to 500,000 state residents "is a good place to begin improving the health and economic security of Pennsylvanians," but he also should back the Pennsylvania Agenda for Women's Health, Kate Michelman and Carol Tracy, both of WomenVote PA, write in an opinion piece in the Scranton Times-Tribune.

Featured Blogs
"Pennsylvania May Drop Birth Control Coverage for Thousands of Low-Income Women," (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 10/29); "Abortion Options in North Dakota Are Dwindling," (Culp-Ressler, "Think Progress," Center for American Progress, 10/30).

Pittsburgh Approves Workplace Protections for Pregnant City Employees
Pittsburgh's City Council last week passed a measure (Ordinance 2014-0809) that will expand workplace protections for city workers who are pregnant, the Pittsburgh City Paper reports.

Featured Blogs
"Polling Confirms That Voters See Abortion Access as an Economic Issue for Women," (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 10/16); "Pregnant Texans are Being Charged With Crimes That Don't Exist," (Grimes, RH Reality Check, 10/16).

Featured Blog: 'Pregnant Texans are Being Charged With Crimes That Don't Exist'
Despite Texas' "fetal homicide" law clearly stating that a "pregnant person cannot be charged with injury to [her] own fetus," prosecutors in West Texas have not stopped "charging women with reckless child endangerment for ingesting controlled substances while pregnant," Andrea Grimes writes at RH Reality Check.

Featured Blog: 'Polling Confirms That Voters See Abortion Access as an Economic Issue for Women'
A majority of voters see abortion "as a mainstream policy that's inextricably linked to women's financial stability," according to a poll released by the National Institute for Reproductive Health, Tara Culp-Ressler writes for "ThinkProgress."

Featured Blogs
"Tennessee Sentenced a Woman to Six Extra Years in Jail Simply Because She Was Pregnant," (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 10/13); "Pittsburgh Passes 'Reasonable Accommodations' for Pregnant Workers," (Murtha, Women's Law Project blog, 10/13).

Columns: Conservative Writer's Desire To Punish Women for Abortions Not Rare Among Abortion-Rights Opponents
Two writers who support reproductive rights recently responded to comments by National Review's Kevin Williamson, who said that women who have abortions -- and those who help them do so -- should be put to death.

Pa. Mother Sentenced to Prison After Obtaining Abortion Drugs Online for Daughter Tells Her Story
In the New York Times Magazine, Emily Bazelon provides the first public interview with Jennifer Whalen, a Pennsylvania woman who was sentenced to prison after purchasing medication abortion drugs online that her daughter used to terminate her pregnancy.

Advocates Link State Abortion Restrictions, Case Involving Pa. Mother Sentenced to Prison
Women's rights advocates and some Pennsylvania lawmakers say a case involving a woman who was sentenced to prison after purchasing medication abortion drugs online should be considered within the context of state laws that restrict women's reproductive rights, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Proposed Abortion Clinic Restrictions at Issue in Pa. Governor's Race
Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf said that if elected, he would not support a bill (HB 1762) that would increase restrictions on abortion clinics and could force some of them to close, Mother Jones reports.

Featured Blog
"Doctors Aren't Dummies: Support the Patient Trust Act," (Michelman, Huffington Post blogs, 9/10).

Pa. Woman Sentenced to Prison After Obtaining Abortion Drugs Online for Daughter
A Pennsylvania woman has been sentenced to up to 18 months in prison for purchasing medication abortion drugs online and giving them to her teenage daughter, who used them to terminate her pregnancy, Reuters reports.

Featured Blogs
"Single Mother Will Spend at Least One Year in Prison for Getting Her Daughter Abortion Pills," (Dusenbery, Feministing, 9/8); "Wendy Davis' Choice: Why Speaking Out About Abortion Must Remain a Woman's Decision," (Kutner, Salon, 9/8).

More States Protecting Pregnant Workers Through Legislation
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) on Tuesday is expected to sign a bill (SB 212) that would bolster accommodations for pregnant workers, making Delaware the most recent on a growing list of states and localities to increase workplace protections during pregnancy, Brigid Schulte writes in the Washington Post's "She The People."

States, Cities Mull 'Buffer Zones' Changes
Various states and cities are evaluating their own abortion clinic security laws after a recent Supreme Court decision, Politico reports.

Pa. Bill Aims To Protect Provider-Patient Relationship
Two Pennsylvania lawmakers on Monday introduced a bill (HB 2303) that aims to prevent government policies from impeding on patient-provider relationships, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports.

'Political Intrusion on Exam Rooms' Must Stop, Op-Ed States
"There is a trend across the country that deeply concerns us and our fellow health-care advocates and providers: political intrusion on exam rooms," Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, and Charles Cutler, former chair of the American College of Physicians Board of Regents, write in a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece.

Featured Blog
"Pennsylvania Law Requires Doctors To Read Scripts to Pregnant Patients With Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnoses (Updated)," (Murtha, RH Reality Check, 7/25).

Group Eyes Lawsuit Over Pittsburgh 'Buffer Zone'
Matt Bowman, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, said that he is "looking very closely into the possibility" of filing suit against an ordinance in Pittsburgh that created a 15-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

Pa. Asks Planned Parenthood for Admitting Privileges Information
Three of Planned Parenthood's Pennsylvania affiliates were mistakenly asked to provide the state with information on their providers' admitting privileges at hospitals, the AP/Washington Times reports.

Op-Ed: Medical Experts, Not Politicians, Should Set Abortion Standards
Legislation requiring abortion providers to obtain hospital staffing privileges, such as a Pennsylvania bill (HB 1762), are "medically unnecessary" and "will not improve women's safety," ob-gyn Rebecca Mercier and emergency-medicine physician Ralph Riviello write in a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece.

New Study Undermines Claims About Bans on Abortions Based on Sex
A new study from the University of Chicago refutes many arguments put forth by supporters of banning abortions based on the sex of the fetus, Mother Jones reports.

Featured Blogs
"New Study Exposes Sex-Selective Abortion Bans for What They Are: Just Another Way To Restrict Abortion" (Bazelon, "XX Factor," Slate, 6/3),"Louisiana Lawmakers Pass Bill to Keep Women on Mechanical Support Against Their Wishes" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 6/3) and "Pennsylvania Women's Health Caucus Unveils Second Package of Bills" (Murtha, RH Reality Check, 6/3).

Abortion-Rights Supporters Go on Offensive at State Level
State legislators this year have introduced more bills supporting abortion access than any time since the early 1990s, according to Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, Bloomberg reports.

On Roe Anniversary, Both Sides Grapple With Legislative, Judicial Realities
On the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, abortion-rights supporters and opponents are assessing their strategies in light of this year's midterm election and judicial responses to recent abortion restrictions.

States Consider Abortion, Paid Leave, Gender Transition Policies
The Women's Health Policy Report summarizes recent news coverage of state action on reproductive health-related issues.

Pa. Lawmakers Unveil Women's Health Package
The Pennsylvania Legislature's Women's Health Caucus this week unveiled a package of seven bills related to women's health, WESA reports.

American Prospect Piece Suggests Focus Areas for Reproductive-Rights Advocates in 2014
Facing an "ever-growing maelstrom of incursions on abortion rights, pro-choice politicians have stayed on the defensive, clinging to the standards established by Roe v. Wade even as conservatives whack relentlessly at their foundations," writes Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, an American Prospect writing fellow, in an opinion piece.

Featured Blogs
"Pennsylvania's New 'Women's Health Caucus' Unveils Package of Pro-Active Bills" (Tara Murtha, RH Reality Check, 12/11) and "After Lawmaker Discloses Her Own Sexual Assault, Michigan Approves 'Rape Insurance' Bill Anyway" (Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress," 12/12).

Pa. Suspends Abortion Clinic for Undisclosed Link to Prohibited Provider
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has suspended the registration of a abortion clinic in the state after it failed to disclose its affiliation with Steven Brigham, an abortion provider who is prohibited from operating in the state, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Pa. Gov. Corbett Signs Bill Prohibiting Abortion Coverage in State Insurance Marketplace
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) on Monday signed into law a bill (HB 818) that prohibits private health plans offered through the state's health insurance marketplace from covering most abortions, the AP/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Pa. Senate Approves Bill Restricting Abortion Coverage
The Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday passed a measure (HB 818) that would prohibit private health plans offered through the state's health insurance marketplace from covering most abortions, CBS Philly reports.

Featured Blogs
"Arizona Congressman Wants To Expand His DC Abortion Ban To Restrict Reproductive Rights Nationwide" (Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress," 5/20), "A Duty To Protect Lives" (Carol Petraitis/Arno Vosk, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights," 5/17) and "Arkansas Judge Temporarily Blocks State's 12-Week Abortion Ban" (Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 5/17).

Gosnell Trial Highlights Debate Over Impact of Abortion Clinic Regulations
The trial of Philadelphia physician Kermit Gosnell, who is accused of killing a woman and infants born alive during abortion procedures, is escalating a debate over whether stricter regulations of abortion clinics makes unsafe facilities more or less likely to exist, NPR's "Shots" reports.

Pa. House Passes Restrictions on Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Marketplace
The Pennsylvania House on Tuesday voted 144-53 to approve a measure (HB 818) that would prohibit abortion coverage in private health plans purchased through the state's insurance marketplace, which is being created under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Pa. Senate Panel Approves Bill To Limit Abortion Coverage Under Affordable Care Act
The Pennsylvania Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Wednesday advanced a bill (SB 275) that would ban private health plans in the state's health insurance marketplaces from covering most abortions, CBS Philly reports.

Featured Blogs
"Why the Response to a Philadelphia Abortion Doctor's Ongoing Murder Trial Gets It All Wrong" (Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress," 3/29).

Featured Blogs
"Anything But Delicate: Alabama's Solution to Substance Abuse During Pregnancy" (Josie Sustaire, Law Students for Reproductive Justice's "Repo Repro, 2/20) and "Something To Celebrate: Philadelphia Board of Health Calls for Public Funding, Insurance Coverage for Reproductive Health Care" (Claire Cooper, RH Reality Check, 2/21).

Abortion Clinics Struggle To Adapt Under Wave of State Regulations
Abortion clinics are struggling to adapt to an onslaught of new state regulations aiming to reduce access to the procedure, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Forty Years After Roe v. Wade, Pa. Abortion Clinic Remains Battleground
On the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, activists on both sides of the issue at a Pennsylvania abortion clinic are drained by the decades-long fight, the Washington Post's "Wonkblog" reports.

States in 2012 Passed Second-Highest Number of Abortion Restrictions Ever, Guttmacher Finds
States passed 43 abortion restrictions in 2012, a "sharp decrease" from 2011 but nonetheless the "second-highest number" enacted in a single year, according to a new study by the Guttmacher Institute, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.

Featured Blogs
"Is Motherhood the Most Important Job? It Depends on Whether You're Poor" (Bryce Covert, The Nation, 10/29).

Pa. Lawmakers Withdraw Support for Bill To Limit Welfare Benefits in Some Rape Cases
Three sponsors have withdrawn their names from a Pennsylvania bill (HB 2718) that would restrict additional welfare benefits to recipients who have a child as the result of rape unless they had reported the rape to authorities, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Most Pa. Abortion Clinics Granted Licenses as New Law Takes Effect
Fourteen of Pennsylvania's 22 abortion clinics have received licenses allowing them to continue providing services under a new state law, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Pa. House Lawmaker To Propose Legislation Putting Funding for Planned Parenthood at Risk
Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R) has proposed legislation that would establish a priority system for distributing public family planning funding, putting Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide abortion care at the bottom of the list, the Huffington Post reports.

Pa. Ultrasound Bill Pulled From Legislative Calendar
A Pennsylvania bill (HB 1077) that would require a woman seeking abortion care to first undergo an ultrasound has been pulled from the Legislature's voting calendar, the Centre Daily News reports.

Pa. House Postpones Upcoming Vote on Ultrasound Bill
Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) has postponed a vote on a bill (HB 1077) that would require a woman seeking abortion care to first undergo an ultrasound, his spokesperson said Wednesday evening, the Scranton Times-Tribune reports.

Pa. Abortion Clinics Bracing for New Regulations
Operators of abortion clinics in Pennsylvania say complying with new state regulations would be prohibitively expensive and could force clinics to close or raise fees for low-income women, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Pennsylvania | In the Courts

This section provides a brief overview of significant cases impacting reproductive rights and health in Pennsylvania.