Legislators sound alarm on attacks against reproductive rights

Note attacks take time, resources from efforts to improve lives of women, families in Pa.

HARRISBURG, Nov. 20 – After repeated legislative efforts from House and Senate conservatives to restrict and obstruct the reproductive rights of Pennsylvanians, Democratic members of the Women’s Health Caucus and other lawmakers called on Republican leaders Wednesday to instead devote their time and energy toward legislation that would positively impact the lives of women and families in Pennsylvania.

"Instead of trying to legislate ways to remove choice from and even endanger the health of women, I choose to seek out opportunities to actually support women,” said Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery and chair of the Women’s Health Caucus. “Women's health is incredibly important to me, which is why I've introduced legislation on topics I believe will improve the lives of women, their families and their communities."

The lawmakers noted that instead of improving healthcare access, raising the minimum wage, creating reasonable family leave policies for working parents, or taking action on equal pay, conservatives in the House and Senate have pushed invasive and at times unconstitutional legislation to restrict women’s and families’ access to health care.

“These constant attacks on abortion rights are taking the place of legislation that could improve the lives of women, whose welfare is inextricably linked to the welfare of Pennsylvania’s children,” said Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, and Democratic chairman of the House Health Committee. “I reject the idea that these bills are about children or babies. We have a great deal of information about making this state healthier and safer for children, and we can’t get so much as a debate on those issues.”

While Gov. Tom Wolf has committed to vetoing any legislation that would limit a family’s choices, the lawmakers who gathered on Wednesday reaffirmed their commitment to fight to protect women’s rights and access to reproductive health care.

“We could be solving so many other issues that impact mothers and their overall health like implicit bias during care and access to alternative services, but instead we’re making it more difficult for women to control their healthcare decisions,” said Cephas, vice-chair of the Women’s Health Caucus. “If the goal is to alleviate grief and suffering, then women need the freedom to work with their doctors to find personalized solutions, and we need to focus on solutions that help to save lives.”