Dire situation: PA needs to expand access to contraceptives

Krueger hosts roundtable with medical professionals, experts

WALLINGFORD, May 12 – During the last half century, expanding access to contraceptives has never been as important in Pennsylvania than it is right now, according to medical professionals, attorneys and advocates who testified before the House Majority Policy Committee at a roundtable hosted by Rep. Leanne Krueger.

“Since the fall of Roe v. Wade, states throughout the nation stripped the rights to access to reproductive health care and limited what had previously been readily available for nearly 50 years,” said Krueger, who represents portions of Delaware County and is a member of the House Majority Leadership Team, serving as the House Majority Caucus Administrator. “This decision not only threatens public health in states that limited access to reproductive health care, but it also threatens public health in states like Pennsylvania – where abortion is safe and legal – by overwhelming health systems with the increased demand coming from out of state to receive essential health care.”

The roundtable took place at the Community Arts Center in Delaware County. Testifiers included Planned Parenthood PA Executive Director Signe Espinoza; Penn Medicine’s and Complex Family Planning Fellow Dr. Blythe Bynum; AccessMatters President and CEO Melissa Weiler Gerber; University of Penn assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology Dr. Alhambra Frarey; and Women’s Law Project managing attorney Terry Fromson.

“During this time of heightened need for reproductive health care, the very least we can do is expand access to contraceptives,” Policy Committee Chairman Ryan Bizzarro said. “Expanding access to birth control would save lives, improve public health and help ease the skyrocketing demand currently inundating some our state’s world-renowned medical health systems.”

Testifiers detailed the need for expanded access. Krueger will soon introduce legislation, H.B. 1140, that would increase access to contraceptives, and her bill would prevent employers from deciding what medical care a woman has the right to receive. Her bill is based on the fact access to health care is inextricably linked to economic mobility, and basic preventative care like birth control should not be a luxury that is only available to some.

“For almost a year, the Policy Committee has heard from experts across the state detailing the negative aftershocks created by the Jackson vs. Dobbs decision,” said House Majority Policy Deputy Vice Chair Melissa Shusterman, who represents portions of Chester County. “We’ve not only heard how health systems in western Pennsylvania are overwhelmed for demand of services, but we also heard the very real concerns from medical professionals on how the next generation of doctors and staff will be educated and trained in performing life-saving procedures if access and rights to reproductive health care is further restricted.”

Information about this event and other House Majority Policy Committee hearings can be found at pahouse.com/policy. Photos to be used for publication can be found at pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee/Galleries. Testimony for this hearing and past Policy Committee hearings, can be found at https://www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee/HearingMaterials.