Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rally Today for Women's Access to Health Care

from the inbox:

As legislators publicly argue the merits of school vouchers, taxes on gas drilling companies, and redistricting, a cadre of anti-choice legislators are quietly working hard to chip away at women’s access to reproductive healthcare in Pennsylvania. In an effort to combat these covert efforts, hundreds of Pennsylvanians gathered to share their disgust and collective concerns over Senate Bill 732 and Senate Bill 3, two bills aimed at restricting access to necessary health care for women in Pennsylvania. “We’ve Had Enough!” is the message legislators heard loud and clear earlier today at a rally in the Capitol Rotunda.

Rally goers have “had enough” of the state legislature’s full-scale assault on women's health and unnecessary attacks on women’s reproductive health care sweeping across both Pennsylvania and the nation. In the first six months of the year, the Pennsylvania legislature spent roughly 30% of their voting days in Harrisburg attacking women’s healthcare, in particular, a woman's right to access abortion care. The most imminent threat, SB732, would require burdensome and unnecessary regulations, including architectural and staffing changes, though abortion services are already among the most highly regulated and safest procedures in the Commonwealth.

“If signed into law, Pennsylvania will follow the lead of Kansas and Virginia, both of which enacted similar restrictions earlier this year,” said Dr. Willie Parker, a second trimester abortion doctor at Philadelphia Women’s Center. “The measures – not supported by a single medical group – are solely meant to eliminate access to safe, legal abortion and could cause a public health crisis by making abortion care in Pennsylvania inaccessible.”

The rally, co-sponsored by dozens of grassroots and healthcare advocacy organizations, is part of the We’ve Had Enough campaign launched this summer to combat the legislation and a growing national trend aimed at chipping away at women’s reproductive rights. Organizations and supporters alike are united in an effort to defeat these bills and expose the true motives of those individuals pushing them.

Organizations include Pennsylvania Clergy for Choice, a group of clergy members from across the state who feel it’s vital to recognize the immorality of interfering in such a personal decision. “Abortion is a private decision to be made by a woman and her doctor, in the context of her own faith,” said Reverend Beverly Dale who leads Pennsylvania Clergy for Choice. “Any legislation that prevents that private decision is immoral and will put women's lives in jeopardy.”

As the fall legislative session gets underway, rally participants called on the legislature to focus on the issues they were elected for - creating jobs and stabilizing the economy - not wasting time and taxpayer money pushing an extreme ideological agenda to make safe abortion less accessible and affordable in the Commonwealth.

“Anti-choice forces throughout the U.S. are no longer chipping away at Roe, they are undertaking a full scale campaign to outlaw abortion through unnecessary regulation and will continue this campaign to deny women access to birth control. The bills proposed in Pennsylvania are in many ways worse than the provisions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation as she led the energized crowd of local physicians, patients, clergy, and reproductive health advocates. “Make no mistake – this is not about protecting women’s health – it is about controlling women’s lives.”

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