No matter where you stand on abortion, approximately 38,000 women will get abortions in Pennsylvania. Well over 90 percent of the abortions will take place in the first-trimester of pregnancy, less than .01 percent will involve a complication and the vast majority will take place in one of the twenty free-standing abortion facilities in Pennsylvania.
That is unless the Pennsylvania State Legislature has anything to do with it. This Fall, we are likely to see the passage of Senate Bill 732, a bill that will regulate these health centers so heavily that many are likely to close—and for those that do not close—expect to see the cost of an abortion increase by 400 percent. This increased cost makes abortion that much more unaffordable and inaccessible. When access to abortion is restricted, the lives of poor women and women of color are most jeopardized by unsafe and illegal abortions.
No medical group supports the bill mostly because it is dangerous and unnecessary—abortion facilities already comply with five different sets of regulations—some of the oldest and most stringent abortion laws in the nation. In fact, the only organizations that have endorsed Senate Bill 732 are the same organizations pushing for an end to legal abortion.
If these abortion facilities close, women won’t get abortions, right? Wrong. Women who need abortions will continue to seek abortions and be subject to the horrors of the pre-Roe v. Wade era. If we allow Senate Bill 732 to be passed, a public health crisis is on the horizon. Recognizing that a decision to have an abortion cannot be isolated from the social and economic conditions of a woman’s life, we have to remember to preserve Reproductive Justice—the Human Right to decide if and when we will have children, if and when we will not have children and how we will parent our children.
So now that this dangerous reality is approaching, let us consider what will happen to those 38,000 women. Has the State Legislature even considered that question? Do they even care?
La’Tasha D. Mayes