This month Pennsylvania joined the ranks of state legislators completely ignorant of the basic workings of human reproduction. There's Texas, where the co-author of one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country thinks that abortion requires "cutting on people's bodies." There's Indiana, where on March 24 the governor signed into law a requirement that "a miscarried or aborted fetus must be interred or cremated," unaware, I guess, that most miscarriages occur in the first trimester, can last for several days, and look like a heavy period with clots and clumps. Sorry, but what exactly are women supposed to inter? Blood-soaked sheets? Sanitary pads? The entire toilet? Then there's Utah, where on March 29 the governor signed a law requiring that a fetus is administered anesthesia before an abortion... but how do you administer anesthesia to a fetus? Oh, there it is, on line 55, in the section that removes any choice in the matter: "through the woman." So women are forced to undergo a potentially dangerous and completely unnecessary medical procedure.
And now there's Pennsylvania, where on April 1, Representative Kathy Rapp, based on the extensive medical training she received from her paralegal certification at Slippery Rock University, introduced to the Health Committee PA House Bill 1948. The bill eliminates dilation and evacuation abortions (though the author substitutes her own made-up word. She also doesn't seem to know the word "fetus."). Further, the bill bans any abortion after 20 weeks gestation unless two physicians certify in writing that the pregnancy will cause death or substantial and irreversible impairment of a major organ. No other reason for abortion is allowed; the bill specifies that even if there is "a claim or a diagnosis that the woman will engage in conduct which would result in her death or in substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function... no abortion shall be deemed authorized." In other words, if a woman is so desperate or determined that she will risk her life to end her pregnancy, the state says, go right ahead and die (the Texas law includes the same language). And of course 20 weeks is around the time that many fetal abnormalities are detected, so Pennsylvania is joining Indiana in saying that women cannot choose an abortion based on such a diagnosis. The bill passed the Health Committee on April 4 by a vote of 16 to 10 without hearing any input from any doctors.
Of course these lawmakers are neither ignorant nor unaware about the facts of life. They know exactly what they are doing: controlling women, controlling women's bodies, controlling women's lives.
If you live in Pennsylvania, or even if you don't, please contact the Pennsylvania House of Representatives about HB1948.