EDITORIAL: Legislating women's health

The York Dispatch

Pennsylvania lawmakers are not known for their productivity.

About 50 people turned out for a rally in support of Planned Parenthood at its Central PA branch in in York City Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. The rally featured a speech by Sari Stevens, director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates. Bill Kalina photo

Property tax reform has been on their agendas for decades. A law allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana – years in the making and still not done.

These men and women wrung their hands over our crumbling transportation infrastructure for years before finally doing their jobs.

It even took them an extra nine months just to hammer out this year’s state budget with Gov. Tom Wolf.

We’re not suggesting any of these things are easy, but it is what we elected them to do.

And they fail, regularly, day after unproductive day.

But give some of these same folks an opportunity to insert themselves into the most private decisions women make about their health … well, they’re all over it.

House Bill 1948 — which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, rather than the current 24, and put restrictions on dilation and evacuation abortions — is moving at lightning speed and could come up for a full House vote this week.

Republicans claim the proposed changes to the state’s Abortion Control Act were in the works for more than a year, The Associated Press reports, but Democrats say the wording wasn’t made public until April. 1.

Pa. House committee sends abortion bill to floor for vote

The bill was introduced that day, a Friday, and was approved in a committee the following Monday without a single hearing.

The GOP-led House last week voted 73-to-114 against a Democratic effort to delay consideration of the bill by two months.

For this group, a two-month delay could still be considered the fast track, but at least it would allow time for a full public hearing and a meaningful debate.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society has urged lawmakers to strike down the abortion bill, saying it "sets a dangerous precedent by legislating specific protocols."

In fact, the bill likely will never become law. The Senate hasn’t said if it would take up the legislation if the House sends it there, and Gov. Wolf is adamant he’ll veto the bill if it ever reaches his desk.

What are we to make of this doomed effort, coming just weeks before Pennsylvanians head to the polls to vote in the primary election?

It’s shameless ploy, plain and simple.

Republicans — and the vast majority of cosponsors are Republicans, including five York County lawmakers — see it was a way to motivate their supporters in an election year when GOP voters have very little to be enthused about.

On the contrary. The party seems dead set on nominating a presidential candidate who is downright hostile to the women whose votes he would need.

Under fire on abortion, Trump fights to court women

If Donald Trump is the nominee in November, all of the other Republicans on the ballot have good reason to fear for their jobs.

We suspect Pennsylvania Republicans have miscalculated, and this plan will backfire on them.

After all, a solid majority of Americans don’t share their extreme views. Recent Gallup polling shows 50 percent of respondents consider themselves to be “pro-choice,” while just 44 percent label themselves “pro-life.”

Support for a woman’s right to choose an abortion hasn’t been this high in nearly 20 years, according to the well-respected pollster.

We urge our readers to go the Pennsylvania General Assembly website (http://www.legis.state.pa.us/) and look up House Bill 1948.

Note the co-sponsors. These are the men and women who raised their hands to say they think they deserve to be consulted when you and your doctor make decisions about your body. They think their personal beliefs should supersede your own.

And we think you should remember them when you vote.