Thursday, June 21, 2007

PA State Dems Push For Abortion Bill Passage

State Dems Push For Abortion Bill Passage

By: Joe Murray , The Bulletin


With the Democrats controlling the statehouse in Harrisburg, pro-life activists are now seeing a renewed push for lawmakers to pass H.B. 288, otherwise known as the Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act (CAREA). And while the Pennsylvania pro-life movement won a brief victory yesterday, inundating the Capitol Building with so many phone calls and objections that the bill was pulled from the floor, it is scheduled to be brought back today for consideration.

The bill, which openly includes the controversial "Plan B" regimen as emergency contraception, was designed to ensure availability of information and contraception to women who are treated by health-care workers immediately following a rape. H.B. 288 is sponsored by state Rep. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery).

"This bill is bad for Pennsylvania on a couple of levels," stated Peg Luksik, director of Public Affairs for the Pro-Life Coalition of PA. Luksik charges that the passage of this measure would have the effect of repealing certain portions of the Abortion Control Act, a law passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor some 16 years ago, without having a real debate on the public policy consequences of H.B. 288 and whether such a bill is even needed in the first place.

"The Abortion Control Act that passed 16 years ago held that life began at the moment of conception. If this bill passes, it would redefine when life begins, making it the moment of implementation, not conception," argues Luksik. Such a redefinition would be solidified by the Legislature's condoning the use of Plan B and would mark a radical shift in Pennsylvania's commitment to the unborn.

Specifically, the requirement that Plan B be dispensed to the victim demonstrates that the true impact of the bill is one that quietly pushes abortion on the Keystone State. It is a trend that increases the threat of danger to the unborn.

To Luksik and other pro-life activists, the devil is in the details and, in this instance, the details are in the inner workings of the Plan B drug.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, "Plan B works like other birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. Plan B acts primarily by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation). It may prevent the union of sperm and egg (fertilization). If fertilization does occur, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation). If a fertilized egg is implanted prior to taking Plan B, Plan B will not work."

"Plan B's own Web site describes how Plan B may act as an abortifacient by preventing implantation," Luksik wrote to Pennsylvania pro-life activists. An abortifacient is a substance that induces an abortion, thus leading to another problematic aspect of this bill.

"While it is true that the Abortion Control Act was written 16 years ago when the availability of emergency contraception was new, if not completely unavailable, the intent of the law was to exempt those health-care workers from performing abortions if they had moral objections to the procedure; this bill would change such an intent," explained Luksik.

Under the bill, when faced with a rape victim, health-care workers would have to "provide the victim with medically accurate written informational materials regarding emergency contraception," "orally inform the victim of the availability" of such contraception and "offer the complete regimen of emergency contraception to the victim and provide the regimen upon her request."

"A lot of hospitals in Pennsylvania, who are not affiliated to a particular religion, have chosen not to provide abortion services," noted Luksik. If H.B. 288 is passed, that would change and health-care workers would be legally required to assist a woman in aborting her child.

Such a change in public policy is not to be taken lightly, and pro-life activists argue that if Pennsylvania is to depart from its well understood principles of life's beginnings, it should do so with facts and evidence. According to Luksik, this is not the case.

"There has been no evidence presented that rape victims are not being cared for adequately," stated Luksik. "There has been no testimony, no documentation to support the contrary."

"Since there has been no evidence of rape victims not receiving compassionate and competent service in Pennsylvania's health-care facilities, and since the only stated purpose of the bill is to force the provision of emergency contraceptives which have abortifacient properties, it appears that this undermining of the rights of pro-life health-care facilities and workers is the actual purpose of this legislation," added Luksik.

If there is no evidence that women are not receiving proper treatment and no testimony as to the need of the bill, one must ask who benefits from the passage of H.B. 288?
"The abortion industry," stated Luksik. The pro-life advocate also questions whether the woman's best interest is even at the heart of this bill, for H.B. 288 lacks a requirement compelling hospitals to report the incident of rape to the police.

"If you come into the emergency room with a gunshot wound, the hospital is required to notify the police," explains Luksik. "If a woman comes in who was raped, there is no reporting requirement and the rapist gets a free pass."

And even though the bill was pulled from the floor yesterday, Luksik believes that is too early to tell whether the measure is dead or whether it will rear its ugly head again.
"The situation is so in flux that I hesitate to guess, but I strongly urge citizens to contact their representative and let them know how they feel about this bill," commented Luksik.
Rep. Leach's office was contacted, but failed to return the phone call prior to deadline.


Joe Murray can be reached at



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