As Rachel Maddow reported a few weeks ago, Pennsylvania has indeed returned to the days before Roe v Wade, before a safe pregnancy termination procedure was a right of all women, no matter their socioeconomic status or zip code. Maddow failed to report the detail that numerous Democrats helped to pass this measure, which had no factual basis to make women safer, only the lobbied limitation of reproductive rights by pro-life activists and organizations.
The legislation was proposed in the wake of the release of the Gosnell grand jury report, which details the horrific environment women endured just to terminate their pregnancy. Typical of any legislation coming out of Harrisburg, it lacks any connection to the real root causes that caused this monstrous nightmare for dozens of women in West Philadelphia.
As one victim told the Associated Press, it was not the unsafe nature of any legal, regulated health clinic that forced her into Gosnell’s hands. It was the intimidation she experienced when trying to enter one of these clinics, at the hands of pro-life protestors. “The picketers out there, they just scared me half to death,” Davida Johnson told reporters. While other states have passed strict “buffer zone” laws, which protect the safety and privacy of patients, Pennsylvania remains a safe haven for intimidation tactics, harassment, and even direct threats to patients just trying to exercise their medical rights. Johnson’s ordeal in Gosnell’s off the books clinic left her sterile and near death, not to mention whatever psychological scarring that might remain to this day.
Legislators did not study the issue; instead, they reacted and hoped that their actions would be politically popular with voters witnessing the grand jury report on the national 24/7 news cycle. Their shortsightedness has resulted in five closed clinics, and as Rachel Maddow reports, a woman may now face fifteen years prison time thanks to these closings.