House Bill 574
Abortion is legal. And facilities performing abortions should be held to basic standards that apply to physicians' offices and outpatient settings.
But a bill that has passed the Pennsylvania House is nothing more than a back-door attempt to limit abortions by limiting the number of facilities performing them and increasing the costs of those facilities that might be able to overcome government's overreach.
House Bill 574, adopted last week, would require the commonwealth's 20 free-standing abortion clinics to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, facilities which provide more complicated and risky procedures. It's in response to the West Philadelphia "House of Horrors" abortion case in January.
Among the proposed new law's measures, however, are those that strike us as "slap measures," quite expensive and specifically designed not to enhance care but to eliminate abortion providers. Among them are requirements for medical-grade elevators, much larger procedure rooms and a full-time registered nurse being on staff even when abortions are not being performed.
A sound litmus test for the legislation is this: Had it been in place, would the rogue actions of the Philadelphia facility been prevented• No. Punishing safe abortion clinics because of one horrific bad apple exposes the real agenda of the 148 state House members who voted for H.B. 574.