We just heard that Rep. Matt Baker's bill, House Bill 574 -- which requires freestanding abortion providers to comply with ambulatory surgical facilities regulations -- will be considered at a meeting of the Pennsylvania House Health Committee this coming Monday, April 11. House Bill 574 would regulate Pennsylvania’s freestanding abortion providers as ambulatory surgical facilities, subject to both the ambulatory surgical facility regulations (“ASF regulations”) and the ambulatory gynecological surgery in hospitals and clinics regulations (“abortion regulations”).
Instead of preventing another Gosnell “house of horrors,” this bill will hurt women.
· It will not improve patient safety.
· It will force safe providers to close.
· It will increase the cost of an abortion by as much as $1,000.
· It will force women to seek care in other states or from marginal or illegal practitioners.
· It will create two overlapping sets of regulations that are in conflict with each other and in violation of the Abortion Control Act.
· It will have the harshest impact on the poor and rural women of Pennsylvania.
Tell the Pennsylvania House Health Committee to vote NO on House Bill 574 and STOP these proposed Ambulatory Surgical Center Regulations from closing freestanding abortion clinics.
House Bill 574 would regulate Pennsylvania’s freestanding abortion providers as ambulatory surgical facilities, subject to both the ambulatory surgical facility regulations (“ASF regulations”) and the ambulatory gynecological surgery in hospitals and clinics regulations (“abortion regulations”). Instead of preventing another Gosnell “house of horrors,” this bill will hurt women.
HB 574 will force providers to alter their facilities and staffing in ways that will make their delivery of services expensive or impossible. If HB 574 is enacted, outpatient abortion clinics would be forced to increase the size of their procedure rooms by 3 or 4 times their current size. Providers would also be required to employ a full-time registered nurse (RN). Under current law, an RN or licensed practical nurse (LPN) must be on duty when abortions are performed. HB 574 requires the presence of an RN anytime patients are present, requiring clinics to employ a nurse full-time on days when the clinic provides routine gynecological exams and family planning services. With the costs of remodeling the facility and adding more staff, the costs of HB 574 for a single clinic would be hundreds of thousands of dollars. These are just two of multiple examples of ways that HB 574 would create difficulties in delivery of services to patients.
HB 574 will increase the financial hurdles to abortion care for patients. Women will not be able to afford safe abortion care and may seek out a substandard illegal provider or be forced to delay their abortions while they try to raise money to pay for higher-cost procedures. The increased costs of complying with HB 574 will be passed along to patients. Many patients struggle to pay $350 for an early abortion procedure. With increased regulation and increased fees, the cost may double and therefore become inaccessible to many women.
Poor women and rural women will have even less access to safe abortion care. Only 22% of PA counties have an abortion provider. The enactment of HB 574 would force some of these providers to close. Women who need abortions will then leave the state where Pennsylvania can no longer regulate their safety.
Abortion providers are already well-regulated. Current law provides for required equipment and medical supplies, hospital transfer agreements for emergency services, equipment required for anesthesia, clinical staff licensing requirements, mandatory counseling and informed consent requirements, laboratory and pathology requirements, required blood tests specific to abortion care, extensive reporting requirements for each abortion, parental consent requirements, abortion facility requirements, and complications reporting. Women don’t need more regulations. They need accessible care and better enforcement of existing regulations.
Please help keep the freestanding clinics in Pennsylvania open. Keep women safe. Vote AGAINST House Bill 574! Thank you!