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PA Senate Passes Attack on Women's Reproductive Health-Care Services

Governor Corbett waffles on decision to participate

House Bill 818 Floor Remarks :: June 4, 2013
June 4, 2013: Senator Vincent Hughes spoke on the Senate floor about proposed amendments to House Bill 818, which would prohibit abortion services from being provided by insurers who participate in the health-care exchange set up by the Affordable Care Act.

I’m very disappointed to report that the Pennsylvania Senate passed House Bill 818, which would prohibit insurance companies from offering coverage of abortion services in the state health insurance exchange established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill essentially bans the use of private funds for the purchase of insurance coverage for abortions beyond rape, incest, or imminent death. The bill now goes to Gov. Tom Corbett who is expected to sign it into law.

Here are the reasons House Bill 818 Should Not Become Law in PA:

  • It discriminates against low-income women by essentially denying them access to full reproductive health care. Wealthy individuals can afford to see a reputable doctor, while poor women will be forced to seek cheaper and potentially unsafe alternatives

  • It undermines the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare by discriminating against women. Many provisions of the ACA eliminated gender bias in our healthcare system. But HB 818 enshrines discrimination into law by essentially eliminating funding for full reproductive health-care that is needed by thousands of women

  • It is unnecessary because federal government is already prohibited from providing funds to cover abortion unless the pregnancy is resulting from rape, incest or poses a danger to the life of the mother

  • The ACA also includes a “conscience” protection for health care providers who object to performing abortion procedures that conflict with their beliefs, further showing that this law is completely unnecessary

I hear a lot in Harrisburg about the need to shrink the size of government. Conservatives are constantly talking about cutting rules and regulations, mostly to help out big corporations. But when it comes to reproductive health care, the same lawmakers just can’t wait to get in the regulation game. They want to shrink government down to the size that it can fit between a patient and her doctor. Simply put, we should trust women. This bill will have many negative consequences and I hope that we are able to repeal it at a later date. I’ll keep fighting in Harrisburg until every woman has access to high quality reproductive health-care services.

Let Gov. Corbett know of your opposition to HB 818. Contact him by visiting:

Learn more about the issues and provide your feedback on my website at as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@SenatorHughes).

Offices of State Senator Vincent Hughes

4950 Parkside Avenue | Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19131
Phone: 215.879.7777
Fax: 215.879.7778
Senate Box 203007
Harrisburg, PA 17120-3007
Phone: 717.787.7112
Fax: 717.772.0579