Pennsylvania lawmakers heard from a small group of doctors and abortion practitioners on Monday as the state House considers legislation to protect unborn babies from late-term abortions after 20 weeks.
PennLive reports eight OB-GYNS lobbied against the legislation on Monday in the state capital, among them were Drs. Lisa Perriera and Catherine Chappell. Both do abortions in Pennsylvania.
The legislation, which passed the state Senate in February, would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates unborn babies can feel pain. It also would make it illegal to cause “the death of an unborn child by means of dismembering the unborn child and extracting the unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors or similar instruments.”
On Monday, the abortion doctors called the legislation “crazy,” and urged state lawmakers to oppose it.
“They put restrictions on our practice after 20 weeks of pregnancy,” Chappell told the newspaper. “This is the craziest piece of legislation I’ve ever seen.”
Chappell, who works for Planned Parenthood in Pittsburgh, also was upset that the legislation includes a third-degree felony charge for violations. She also said the bill would intrude into the doctor-patient relationship.
Perriera, an abortion practitioner in Philadelphia and Ohio, slammed the legislation as unconstitutional.
“These bills will directly impact the care that I can provide my patients,” Perriera told the newspaper. “These bans on mainstream medical care are not constitutional. They’re going … to prevent me from being able to provide safe health care to my patients.”
Safety already appears to be an issue with Perriera and her patients. Pro-life groups have linked Perriera to a woman named Lakisha Wilson’s death after a second-trimester abortion in Ohio in 2015, and several other patient emergency situations.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, who has close ties to the abortion industry, previously said he will veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.
“It’s wrong, it’s unconstitutional, it flies in the face of everything I stand for, and I will veto it,” the governor said.
Wolf has close ties to Planned Parenthood and appointed one of the abortion group’s board members as his chief of staff. He also volunteered for the abortion chain and received strong support from it during his election campaign.
Public polls, however, show support for the legislation.
A recent poll found 64 percent of voters support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which prohibits abortions after 20 weeks. A Marist survey in January found similar results, with 59 percent of Americans supporting an abortion ban after 20 weeks.
Both parts of the legislation are modeled after bills that already have been passed in other states.
A handful of states recently passed dismemberment abortion bans, which are the brainchild of the National Right to Life Committee. Currently, 16 states also have laws that protect pain-capable unborn babies from abortion after 20 weeks. The legislation prohibits later term abortions after 20 weeks as medical advancements push the line of viability earlier in pregnancy and as substantial medical evidence indicates unborn babies at this stage are capable of experiencing pain.