Rather than just run SB 3 in the House, the identical HB 1977 was run and passed by the Pa House in December 2011, by a vote of 146 to 45. As we had the promise of the governor's signature on this abortion "opt out" legislation, we naively assumed that the Senate, House, and governor would work things out and get the deal done. We took our eyes off the ball!
Somehow or other, the legislative session ended with Pennsylvania still lacking "opt out" legislation!We were played for fools. With election results in, the seriousness of this back alley rebuke to faithful Catholics and other pro life Pennsylvanians should be abundantly clear!
We apparently underestimated the influence of the powerful forces working against passage of abortion ""opt out" legislation, such as ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the Women's Law Project. A 6/4/12 ACLU memo to its board of directors is particularly telling
- "Reproductive rights (HB 1077, HB 1977/SB 3, HB 2405): There has been little-to-no activity around these bills for months. HB 1077, the bill to mandate an ultrasound at least 24 hours before an abortion, hit a wall when it was voted out of committee, and the resulting controversy may have crippled the chances of the bills to block insurance coverage of abortion in the exchange created by healthcare reform, HB 1977 and SB 3. We remain vigilant, however. In May, Rep. Metcalfe introduced HB 2405, a bill to block state funding of clinics that provide abortion care. State law already blocks the use of state funds for abortion, but this bill would go further by also prohibiting state funds for the other care those clinics provide, such as ob-gyn services, cancer screenings, etc. The main motivation of the bill is to stop state funds from going to our friends at Planned Parenthood. In an intriguing twist, the bill was not referred to the House Health Committee, which is chaired by anti-choice crusader Matt Baker, but to the House Rules Committee, which is chaired by House Majority Leader Mike Turzai."