Saturday, March 25, 2023

Play

Georgia prepares for the end of COVID-19 emergency; comment period open for experimental nuclear tech in eastern ID; Mexican gray wolf population rebounds in Arizona.

Play

Lawmakers grill the CEO of Tik Tok over national security concerns, the House Pro-Choice Caucus aims to repeal the Helms Act and allow U.S. foreign aid to support abortion care, and attempts to ban or restrict books hit a record high as groups take aim at LBGTQ+ titles.

Play

Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

PA Groups' Call to Action for Reproductive Rights

Play

Monday, August 8, 2022   

CLARIFICATION: Updated 10/26/2020 at 3:30pm MT to include more links and clarify the debate over the constitutional versus legislative process.


The battle rages on after last month's last-minute move in the Pennsylvania Senate to include anti-abortion language in a budget bill, as well as other constitutional amendments that could restrict voting access.

In about a month, the Pennsylvania General Assembly will revisit a controversial proposal with five separate amendments to the state Constitution. Groups that oppose Senate Bill 106 are using the next few weeks to rally their forces.

SB 106 says "This constitution does not grant the right to tax-payer funded abortion or any other right relating to abortion."

The amendment itself does not restriction abortion or make it illegal, however it would allow state legislators to make future decisions which opponents say would most likely open the door to restrictions.

Laura Nevitt - executive director of the Keystone Progress Education Fund - said in the meantime, groups like hers are reaching out to voice concerns about SB 106, particularly the prospect of an abortion ban.

"The work now is just about educating people about what this constitutional amendment actually would do," said Nevitt, "why it is not good for the people who live in Pennsylvania, and making every effort and attempt possible to prevent it from getting on the ballot."

The Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus describes SB 106 as a "Constitutional Clarification," and says it "does not change current law," but leaves the decision about whether the state will allow abortions up to the General Assembly.

In a Muhlenberg College poll mid-September, 30% of Pennsylvania voters polled said they think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases; 61% percent said it should be legal in all or most cases. Only 8% said they are undecided.

Democrats say GOP lawmakers are using the constitutional amendment process because they know Gov. Tom Wolf would veto legislation about such hot-button issues as abortion and voting access.

The Senate Republican Caucus counters that Pennsylvania voters - through their elected officials - should be allowed to decide these issues.

But this method also means the resolution has to survive two legislative sessions before the amendments could be put on the ballot for a public vote. The second session began Sept. 12.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape also strongly opposes SB 106 and predicts if it's passed, it would be used to block individuals' access to abortions, even in cases of rape or incest.

Donna Greco - public policy and legislative affairs director for the coalition - said their view is that it violates bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom. But for now, she said, a person still has the right to get an abortion.

"Currently, abortion is still legal and protected in Pennsylvania," said Greco, "as well as the range of reproductive healthcare, contraception, emergency contraception. So right now, those services are still legal here throughout the Commonwealth."

In the meantime, Gov. Wolf already filed a lawsuit to protect reproductive rights in the Commonwealth. He holds that the amendments are "constitutionally invalid."

Disclosure: Keystone Progress Education Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Energy Policy, Environment, Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Nevada is the only state with what is known as a summary eviction process. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Nevada Housing Justice Alliance, tenants, lawmakers and community leaders gathered at a news conference outside the Capitol in Carson City this …


Social Issues

Family caregivers provide valuable work to Washington state - even if they don't get paid. A new report puts a value to the unpaid work they do…

Social Issues

Advocates for Michigan's LGBTQ community are calling lawmakers' move to expand the state's civil rights law to include them a victory that's "been a l…


Illinois advocacy groups say they are educating policymakers on the benefits of hospital screening as a solution to prevent medical debt, both for low-income patients and the hospital. (volgariver/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

A new report finds thousands of low-income or uninsured people in Illinois face medical debt that is depleting their savings and, in some cases…

Health and Wellness

The Iowa Senate has approved a measure allowing some medical facilities to be licensed as "emergency hospitals." This would be especially important in…

The Idaho National Laboratory is located near Idaho Falls. (MichaelVi/Adobe Stock)

Environment

The U.S. Department of Energy has opened a short public-comment window on an experimental nuclear technology in Idaho. The agency has released a …

Social Issues

School nutrition providers told Ohio lawmakers this week they're tired of hounding parents for school lunch money when their child's account accrues d…

Health and Wellness

A Georgia health advocacy group is concerned about people's health outcomes as the COVID-19 public health emergency is set to expire on May 11…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021