We often hear abortion referred to as an issue of women’s health. However, in Pennsylvania, freestanding abortion clinics are not subject to the same health standards as other ambulatory surgical facilities. Simply put, the current law favors the abortion industry, not women’s health.
Lax, inconsistent standards allowed for the existence of the horrific abortion clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia. The Grand Jury Report from the resulting investigation called for a tightening of existing standards. House Bill 574 is an answer to that call. Although it is unfortunate that HB 574 cannot put an end to abortion, it can provide a safer environment for women, reduce the occurrence of abortions, and remove legislation that clearly favors the abortion industry.
House Bill 574 would hold abortion facilities to the same fire and safety standards, personnel and equipment requirements, and quality assurance procedures as other freestanding ambulatory surgical facilities. One might wonder, would Dr. Gosnell have been able to run his “house of horrors” if he had been subject to unannounced annual inspections or if he answered to a Department of Health that imposed sanctions or fines for not meeting the most basic of health standards? These are just two of the regulations called for in HB 574.
The need for reform is evident – the state’s abortion industry should not be exempt from commonsense safety standards that apply to other surgery centers. Please contact your legislator to convey your support to House Bill 574.