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First in Series of Bills to Protect State Abortion Access | WDIY Local News

Marley Parish

The Pennsylvania House approved legislation this week that further protects abortion access, mainly for those traveling here from other states.

A press release announced the approval of House Bill 1786, which was sponsored by Representatives Mary Jo Daley of Montgomery County and Melissa Shusterman of Chester County.

The bill would prevent Pennsylvania courts from cooperating with out-of-state authorities in civil and criminal cases related to reproductive healthcare. This would mean that individuals who come from other areas of the country to receive an abortion or other reproductive care couldn’t be arrested in Pennsylvania because their home state has outlawed abortion.

House Bill 1786 is an amendment to the Judiciary and Judicial Procedure of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, which applies to interstate service and issuance of subpoenas. It currently allows authorities from other states to make arrests in Pennsylvania.

Daley, who holds a co-chair position on the Women’s Health Caucus, explained that former Governor Tom Wolf issued an executive order protecting those seeking refuge from abortion bans. However, this bill would officially make it state law.

With multiple states currently contemplating laws that would make abortion punishable by law, Daley and Shusterman expressed their desire to send a clear message that Pennsylvania will not be “bullied” into allowing other people’s bodies to be controlled.

Shusterman adds that Pennsylvania was founded as a refuge to those whose rights were in jeopardy. She intends to continue that history with legislation like this that speaks to the commonwealth’s values.

James is a news reporter for WDIY as well as a rotating host of Morning Edition, Fresh Air, and All Things Considered.
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