Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Senate Bill 3 Further Endangers Women's Health

Today, Senator Don White unexpectedly put his Senate Bill 3, to ban abortions in the insurance exchanges, on the agenda for a vote in the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, where he is Chair, demonstrating that the Republican leadership has no intention of trying to work in a bipartisan manner for the citizens of Pennsylvania, and will instead press divisive issues. If your Senator is a member on this Committee, call today and urge a NO vote on this bill.

Apparently, he is trying to seize the moment, as emotions are running high in the wake of the Philadelphia District Attorney's report on Dr. Kermit Gosnell, charged with murder, and his horrific West Philadelphia clinic, where he provided unsafe and illegal abortions. Senate Bill 3's goal is to further restrict abortion access, safety, and legality, when exactly the opposite is what's necessary to make sure more back-alley providers like Gosnell don't pop up. Senator White's bill would cause increased hardship and misery for women seeking safe and legal abortion, and further marginalize abortion, sending more women to sub-standard providers.

Planned Parenthood Advocates wrote a great letter you can use to contact your Senator, go to their site to send an email:

Dear Senator,
As your constituent, I am shocked to hear that the Banking and Insurance Committee's first order of business in the new legislative session is to vote to restrict coverage of abortion services and not address issues like jobs or the economy.

The issue of abortion coverage with federal money through health care reform has already been decided. Anti-choice Senator Ben Nelson raised his concerns on the federal level and as a result, women who want to use their own money to purchase health insurance which includes abortion care is completely separate and must be paid entirely by the individual. Additional restrictions are unnecessary.

The passage of Senate Bill 3 would push abortion care services to the fringe, away from additional regulation and oversight by the insurance industry. As we have all seen over the past few weeks, women who need abortion services and cannot readily access them are resigned to seeking care at the hands of dangerous practitioners who threaten women's health and lives like Dr. Gosnell. Further stigmatizing a legal medical procedure will, in reality, put more lives at risk.

I ask that my Senator focus on the priorities for which you were elected: creating jobs and improving the economy. Regardless of anyone's feelings on abortion, eliminating insurance coverage through Senate Bill 3 will only ensure that dangerous situations like Dr. Gosnell's clinic will continue to exist.

Signed,
Your Constituent

Here's an article that explains why the poorest women are most in danger from additional restrictions on abortion, and why abortion should not be separated out from other equally essential reproductive care:

Why Did They Seek Care There: How Abortion Bans Threaten Women's Lives

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