EDITORIAL: Why no public hearing?
- A controversial abortion-related bill is set for a vote in the Senate on Monday.
- Why are legislators increasingly given to sneaking legislation through without public input?
- This isn't fair to those in favor or opposed to a given measure - especially this one.
Put aside the fevered arguments on all sides regarding abortion.
There is something everyone should agree on: This is a democracy.
And as such, we should honor the democratic process, which is meant to foster transparency — and solicit the input of the people.You know, those people for whom our elected officials work — those to whom they are supposed to answer.
Once again, the state Legislature has announced last-minute consideration of a bill it knows ignites strong feelings on all sides.
A key Senate committee is expected to vote Monday on legislation, SB3, which would place new, stricter limits on abortion — without having held a public hearing or seeking any input from the state’s medical community.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will be voting on whether to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy — except in medical emergencies — instead of 24 weeks under current law.
The measure also calls for sharply curtailing medical use of a procedure known as dilation and evacuation, which is used in second-trimester abortions and which the bill’s supporters refer to as “dismemberment abortions,” a term not medically recognized.
No public hearing will be held before the vote.
Why do you think they did this?
To get around the difficult — and most vital — part of doing their jobs, that’s why.
Let’s leave aside the fact that more and more the governing class is working unilaterally and without openness and transparency, bypassing the dirty work of reconciling the varied and determined opinions of their constituency. And working against the best interests of their constituency in many cases.
In this case, the medical community and the people of the state of Pennsylvania have strong opinions on the legislation and its implications and potential consequences. Why would those who represent us (yes, again, they work for us) not give the bill its day in a public forum?
It’s an insult to both sides. When did the people become so easily extracted from the democratic process?
Perhaps those who have a pro-life stance are OK with the quiet rush to judgment on this bill. But what about next time — when the elected representatives wish to make choices you oppose without your valuable involvement?
The bill passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives last year, receiving 132 votes in its favor. There also was no public hearing last session.
All state residents should stay awake to the power of the governing class. There may come a day when it’s used against you. We would argue in many cases, that is already what is occurring. Many, particularly women and minorities, are all too familiar with this.
And gone unchecked as it has — for so long as to become commonplace — is a danger to all, indeed.