A new abortion bill is creating a big debate between pro-life and pro-choice advocates.
“This would be one of the most protective bills in the country for both mothers and children,” said Maria Gallagher, legislative director for Pennsylvania Pro-life Federation.
“If it was enacted, it would be the most extreme abortion bans in the country, ” said Sari Stevens, executive director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates.
House Bill 1948 would ban most abortions after 20 weeks. Under current law, it’s 24 weeks. The bill would also criminalize procedures that dismember the fetus. Both procedures would still be allowed to save the mother’s life.
“This is the first bill we have seen to include a method ban in addition to changing the gestational age at which an abortion can be performed. This is essentially two abortion bans rolled into one,” Stevens said.
“It’s a fairly new type of legislation but it’s really sorely needed because these babies are precious human beings and they should be protected and their mothers should be protected from the harm that could come from these types of abortions,” Gallagher said.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, more than 32,000 women had abortions in 2014. Most were done using a suction procedure. More than 1,500 hundred used dilation and evacuation, which the bill refers to as dismemberment abortion.
“I think that we can all agree that tearing a baby limb from limb from the mother’s womb is just outrageous and shouldn’t be tolerated in this civilized society,” Gallagher said.
“The Medical Society of Pennsylvania, obstetricians and gynecologists are all opposed to this bill. I believe we should be trusting doctors and not legislators when it comes to women’s health,” Stevens said.
The House is expected to vote on House Bill 1948 on Monday.