HB 321 - Down syndrome Abortion Ban
We saw similar legislation last session in HB 2050, which attempted to ban abortions based upon a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The co-sponsors, then and now, claim this bill protects individuals with Down syndrome. Last session, it was not supported by any disability rights groups and did not contain any language or amendments that would provide resources and support to those with disabilities or their families. The language of HB 321 may be slightly different than last session’s bill, but the intent is the same.
We can all agree that people with Down syndrome can and do lead full lives. House Bill 321 is not about protecting individuals with Down syndrome and their families. This bill is yet another unconstitutional attempt to ban safe, legal abortion in Pennsylvania.
HB 321 passed the PA House on May 14, 2019, by a margin of 117-76. This was a narrower margin than last session's bill, which passed 139-56. The bill will go to the Senate for consideration. Governor Wolf has said he will veto this bill.
Senate Bill 271 - State defunding of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers
This is the fourth legislative session in a row that politicians have introduced a bill which attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and block our patients from accessing family planning services. The bill tiers funding in the Department of Human Services and eliminates any funding for organizations that provide abortion services. The language of the bill may not explicitly say this, but the intent of the cosponsors couldn’t be more clear: to shut off access to life-saving cancer screenings, birth control that reduces unintended pregnancy, and STD testing and treatment, including for infertility.
Learn more about the impact of defunding Planned Parenthood in other states here.
Despite the fact that it is clearly unconstitutional, legislators are yet again attempting to ban abortions at six weeks - before many people would even know they are pregnant. Roe v Wade made it very clear that you cannot ban abortions prior to viability. This bill does just that. Similar bills have been struck down in other states, such as North Dakota, Arkansas, and Iowa.