PA House Dems pass shield law protecting out-of-state residents seeking reproductive health care

State Rep. Mary Jo Daley speaking at a reproductive rights rally in the Pennsylvania State Capitol on June 27, 2022. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

November 17, 2023

“Access to safe and legal abortion is a serious issue for millions of Americans,” State Rep. Mary Jo Daley said in a statement. “In Pennsylvania, it remains safe and legal. But other states have worked furiously to enact extreme abortion bans and restrict the ability for women to access essential health care.”

Pennsylvania House Democrats on Wednesday took a critical step forward in protecting the reproductive rights of those coming to the commonwealth seeking abortion care as states continue to ban the procedure after the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

House Bill 1786, which was sponsored by State Reps. Mary Jo Daley (D-Montgomery) and Melissa Shusterman (D-Chester), would prohibit Pennsylvania courts from cooperating with out-of-state civil or criminal cases involving patients traveling to Pennsylvania for reproductive healthcare services. The bill would also prevent officials from other states from arresting individuals in Pennsylvania for abortion related crimes.

“Access to safe and legal abortion is a serious issue for millions of Americans,” Daley said in a statement. “In Pennsylvania, it remains safe and legal. But other states have worked furiously to enact extreme abortion bans and restrict the ability for women to access essential health care.

In Jan 2022, then-Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive order protecting out-of-state patients seeking reproductive care in Pennsylvania. Daley thanked the former governor for the executive order, but insists that these protections need to be enshrined in legislation.

“With this legislation, we are sending a clear message that Pennsylvania will not be bullied by these states and their attempts to control other people’s bodies. Pennsylvania must continue to pass policies that protect access to abortion and other critical reproductive healthcare services that people across our nation need and deserve,” said Daley.

The bill passed the House by a 117-86 vote, with 17 Republicans voting in favor.. State Reps. Rob Mercrui (R-Allegheny) and Ryan MacKenzie (R-Lehigh), who are both running for US Congress, voted for the bill. However, the pair also voted in favor of a constitutional ban on abortion in the previous legislative session.

Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates applauded the passage of HB 1786.

This bill shields patients and providers from other states enforcing their extremism within our borders. We thank the State House for taking this step as other states have continued to pursue regressive, anti abortion policies instead,” Signe Espinoza, the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates.

The bill has now been sent to the Senate for consideration.

 

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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