Cephas and Daley taking Pa. reproductive rights conversation to White House

The lawmakers will join legislators from 41 states in a convening on the subject

HARRISBURG, June 15 – State Reps. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., and Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, announced that they will be representing the commonwealth at today’s Legislative Convening on Reproductive Rights at the White House. They will be two of three Pennsylvania state representatives participating in the panel.

Cephas and Daley will join 83 legislators from 41 states across the country to highlight state-level attacks on reproductive rights, as well as state efforts to protect and expand access to abortion care. Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton will also be in attendance.

Cephas said the panel, which will be held ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Dobbs decision, signifies a singular opportunity to talk about her extensive work on the subject and how the commonwealth stands in the face of other states.

“I am excited to join colleagues to discuss legislation that we have advanced to secure reproductive rights in our state and the challenges we have faced along the way,” Cephas said.

“We have been tirelessly working to keep abortion safe and legal for all Pennsylvanians against extremist attacks on reproductive rights and we will continue championing the state to provide resources, access, and funding to improve services. We are determined to protect patients and providers.”

Daley, co-chair of the Pa. Women’s Health Caucus, expressed that it is her honor to join colleagues from across the nation to discuss reproductive freedom, and how to best protect and serve birthing parents and their newborns.

"In Pa., we are continuing our fight to keep abortion safe and legal. We've passed measures to take better care of incarcerated women and collect proper data on maternal morbidity to see how we can reduce maternal deaths. In the wake of the Dobbs decision, it's more important than ever to fight for our rights," Daley said.

This week, Cephas praised the passage of her Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act. The bill, H.B. 900, passed the House with bipartisan support and has now been sent to the Senate for consideration. It would create important protections for pregnant and postpartum incarcerated women, including prohibiting shackling and solitary confinement; providing trauma informed care training of corrections officers interacting with pregnant and postpartum women; and providing up to three days of post-delivery bonding time between a mother and newborn child, among other protections.

Yesterday, the House Health Committee reported to the full House legislation that would ensure proper data collection on maternal morbidity as lawmakers work to reduce the growing and alarming number of maternal deaths in the state.

Bill (S.B. 262), which would add “severe maternal morbidity” to the list of reportable events within the Pennsylvania Department of Health, mirrors legislation authored by Cephas in the past two legislative sessions and is a key part of her efforts to reduce Black maternal mortality and improve Black maternal health in Pennsylvania. 

Cephas adds that this issue “remains a priority as we continue to lose birthing people to maternal mortality,” referencing the recent death of three times Gold Olympic Medalist, Tori Bowie, 32, who died of eclampsia or respiratory distress while in labor.