PHILADELPHIA, April 8 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., on Monday in the House Health Committee voted against House Bill 1948, one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the United States.
She said that regardless of where Pennsylvanians stand on the issue of abortion, they should be very concerned about the speed at which the bill, which would ban abortions past 20 weeks in Pennsylvania, moved through committee.
“The language was only first made publically available Friday afternoon, and then it was voted out of an advertised ‘call of the chair’ Health Committee meeting held on Monday afternoon,” she said. “Democratic committee members did not even know the bill would be on the agenda until last Thursday.”
“Call of the chair” meetings, which include verbiage that allow for any additional business to be brought before the committee without first identifying specifics, are another poor, non-transparent process that DeLissio has spoken out against repeatedly.
House Bill 1948 received second consideration by the full House on Wednesday and is expected to be brought up for a third and final House vote Monday.
“The bill has almost 100 co-sponsors from both parties, and I believe that my colleagues now recognize that the process that got us to this point was ‘bad form,’ and the debate now includes how to respond to this poor process,” DeLissio said.
The bill does not include rape, incest or fetal abnormality provisions and perhaps most importantly with regards to process, DeLissio said, was not subject to public hearings in front of trained medical professionals, let alone interested citizens.
“In case my constituents are wondering where I stand on the substance of the bill – I will be a no vote,” she said. “Legislators should not be in the business of making health care choices for anyone. I believe that everyone has a right to make decisions that affect their personal situation. I only walk in my own shoes.”