SB 732, the common sense bill to require abortion centers in Pennsylvania to meet the same health and safety standards required of all outpatient surgery centers, passed the State House and Senate overwhelmingly this week. This action comes about 11 months after a Philadelphia grand jury report detailed horrific conditions at the Women’s Medical Society abortion center in West Philadelphia, with resulting murder charges against abortionist Kermit Gosnell and some members of his family and staff.
Following the release of the grand jury report, inspections of all other Pennsylvania abortion clinics (which had not taken place for more than 15 years) were quickly conducted, and revealed dangerous, subpar conditions in a number of the clinics.
Even so, the usual suspects (like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood) railed against SB 732, some even calling us and other supporters out by name, suggesting that if the Pennsylvania Family Institute supports it, it must really be an attack on women and the “reproductive freedom.” Yes, we are a pro-life organization, one that hopes to see all innocent human life protected from conception until natural death. And that pro-life conviction also guides us to protect the health and safety of all people— including women and girls who have been lied to by our society (and let down by our laws) into thinking that abortion is the answer to their current problem or crisis. It is not.
Perhaps most dismaying in the entire debate over SB 732 is the fact that no member of the House or Senate Black Caucus voted in favor of the bill, save one. This despite the fact that the grand jury report on the Gosnell scandal clearly shows that Gosnell preyed upon and targeted minority women (as the abortion industry does as a whole). More then two-thirds of abortion clinics are located in black and minority communities.
The one, the only, African-American legislator who did vote for SB 732 was Rep. Margo Davidson, a Democrat from Delaware County. After the vote tally, she courageously took to the floor to explain her yes vote, dedicated to the memory of her cousin, Semika Shaw, who died at age 22, one of Gosnell’s victims. Said Rep. Davidson:
“Today I honor her memory by voting yes on this legislation, that seeks to safeguard the health of women, that is long overdue, so that never again will a woman walk into a licensed health care facility in the State of Pennsylvania and be butchered as she was. Today I thank the members of this House that supported this legislation for the safety of women.”
I also thank the 150 House and 32 Senate members who voted to pass HB 732. Frankly, it should have been unanimous.