In what is shaping up to be a pivotal and unpredictable election year, abortion and its negative impact on women have only infrequently been mentioned as important issues in the Presidential campaign. However, they remain critical and divisive issues in Congress where competing bills were recently introduced.
On April 2, Senators David Vitter (R-LA), George Voinovich (R-OH), and Sam Brownback (R-KS) introduced the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act.
The measure would require that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a hospital in close vicinity to the abortion facility; that abortion providers notify women of the location of a local hospital where they can receive follow-up medical treatment in the event of post-abortion complications; and that any abortion center receiving federal funding be licensed and comply with current requirements for ambulatory surgery centers.
“It is time that we took the appropriate steps to provide for the safety of the women who undergo abortions,” commented Senator Vitter.
Senator Sam Brownback, a former Republican presidential candidate, added that, “The Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act will provide oversight of the abortion industry, which is badly in need of improved supervision. Too many abortions are performed under unsafe conditions, and too many women’s lives are at risk.”
In considering this measure, Congress is following the lead of 27 states that currently license and regulate, to varying degrees, facilities providing abortions.
Conversely, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), with the support of national abortion advocacy groups, introduced the Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Services Act, targeting the work of thousands of crisis pregnancy centers that offer real alternatives to pregnant women.
The measure would mandate that the Federal Trade Commission create and enforce rules to prohibit deceptive practices that pregnancy centers deny they are using. Prior versions of this measure never moved past introduction.
“What’s clear in these attacks is that the multi-million dollar abortion industry is growing increasingly frustrated with the success of pregnancy centers, which, unlike abortion providers, offer a wide range of free services to men and women facing unplanned pregnancy and sexual health-related concerns,” remarked Kristen Hansen of CareNet, a national advocacy groups for pregnancy centers.
Peggy Hartshorn, the president of Heartbeat International, argues that, rather than unnecessarily and unfairly targeting the work of pregnancy centers, Congress should instead be looking into problems at abortion centers like Planned Parenthood, which are also federally funded. Interestingly, this is exactly what the debate over the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act could accomplish.
For more information about the regulation of abortion facilities, see Abortion Clinic Regulations: Combating the True “Back Alley”
For more information on the Pregnant Women Health and Safety Act, go to http://www.lifenews.com/nat3834.html
For more information on crisis pregnancy centers, see Pregnancy Resource Centers: On the Frontlines in the Cause for Life
For more information on Senator Menendez’s attack on the work of crisis pregnancy centers, go to http://www.lifenews.com/nat3833.html