Philadelphia — July 26, 2022 — Today, the Women’s Health Caucus conducted its second joint hearing with the House and Senate Democratic Policy Committees on Pennsylvania abortion access post-Roe. The hearing was held at the William Way Community Center and featured testimony from Dr. Aasta Mehta from the Philadelphia Department of Health and Signe Espinoza, the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates, Céshia Elmore, a Community Organizer for New Voices for Reproductive Justice, and Dr. Sarah Gutman from the University of Penn Medicine.
WHC co-chair Rep. Morgan Cephas provided opening remarks at the hearing and highlighted the threat to abortion access in Pennsylvania. She said today’s hearing was about understanding how abortion access can be protected and expanded in Pennsylvania.
“We have a Republican Caucus in Harrisburg that is looking to ban abortion across the commonwealth as quickly as they can,” said Rep. Cephas. “That’s going to require us to stay steadfast and focus on factual information about how limiting abortion access continuously increases health risks to mothers and birthing people.”
“The Supreme Court decision on abortion has created confusion for people capable of pregnancy across the country,” said WHC co-chair Rep. Mary Jo Daley. “It is important that Pennsylvanians know that abortion care is still safe and legal and that our doors are open for people needing an abortion to come to our state. The second policy hearing in post-Roe Pennsylvania brings together health care providers and advocates for pregnant people to discuss the future of abortion care in Pennsylvania.”
“Abortion is still safe and legal in Pennsylvania, but we have a lot of work to do when it comes to expanding reproductive healthcare access in the commonwealth,” said WHC co-chair Sen. Amanda Cappelletti. “Many women and child-bearing individuals already face barriers when it comes to accessing healthcare, such as maternity healthcare deserts and hospital closures, and the access to abortion care remains inaccessible for many individuals across the commonwealth. We must protect the right to bodily autonomy and provide greater accessibility.”
“These hearings are just one way we can continue to keep this issue front and center,” said WHC co-chair Sen. Judy Schwank. “It’s important that we do everything in our power to communicate where abortion access stands in Pennsylvania right now and where we are headed if people don’t stay engaged. The testimony we’ve heard so far makes it clear that stripping away abortion access away from Pennsylvanians is not in the best interest of this commonwealth.”
The first post-Roe Pennsylvania hearing took place on July 19 in Harrisburg and featured testimony from Pennsylvania’s Acting Physician General Denise Johnson. The next hearing will take place in Pittsburgh on August 11.
- Dr. Aasta Mehta, MD, MPP, OB/GYN, Medical Officer of Women’s Health, Philadelphia Department of Public Health
- Ceshia Elmore, New Voices for Reproductive Justice
- Signe Espinoza, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates
- Dr. Sarah Gutman, MD, MSPH, OB/GYN and Complex Family Medicine, Specialist, UPenn Medicine
- Saleemah McNeil, CEO, Oshun Family Center