PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence Absurdly Wrong on SB 732

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Today, the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) sent a memorandum to members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, encouraging them to vote against Senate Bill 732, a bill that would simply apply the same health and safety standards to abortion clinics that have applied to all outpatient surgical facilities for decades.

SB 732 was drafted in direct response to the “House of Horrors” situation uncovered at Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic in West Philadelphia. In fact, the report of the Grand Jury convened by the Philadelphia District Attorney specifically calls for such equivalent regulation of abortion clinics and other surgical facilities. It’s simply common sense.

However, not only does common sense escape PCADV’s Executive Director, Peg Dierkers (the author of the memo), but so too do the facts. Throughout the memo, Ms. Dierkers says that SB 732 “would regulate Pennsylvania family planning clinics as Ambulatory Surgical Facilities.” Wrong. SB 732 only applies to abortion clinics that do surgical abortions after 9 weeks gestation (typically when general anesthesia may be used). The bill is not aimed at “family planning clinics”; in fact, such clinics are not mentioned in the bill.

Incredibly, the word “abortion” is not mentioned in Ms. Dierker’s memo! That’s right. In a several-hundred word memo written in opposition to a bill to regulate abortion clinics, the word “abortion” does not even appear once! Why?

I contend it’s because it really doesn’t make any sense for an organization that fights domestic violence to also be fighting a bill that protects women from unscrupulous abortionists. And so, extreme verbal gymnastics were employed, along with blatant factual misstatements, to try and justify PCADV’s incongruous position on SB 732.

Severe violence, including murder, was perpetrated against women and babies for decades at the Gosnell clinic. Without question, some of those women were at the clinic under duress, forced there by men seeking to erase the life they helped create. I’ve seen men strong-arming their girlfriend, wife or daughter into an abortion clinic, participating in what truly is the ultimate act of domestic violence, the taking of life in what should be the safest place on earth: the mother’s womb.

PCADV would do well to not only support SB 732, but to rethink its stand on abortion altogether.

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