Rep. Kristine Howard on one year anniversary of the Dobbs Decision

A year ago, the supposedly independent Supreme Court overturned half a century’s worth of case law, thereby stripping young women of rights their mothers and grandmothers had. The state-by-state patchwork of reproductive rights resulting from the Dobbs decision deepens already dramatic divisions and ties access to care ever closer to where someone lives.

Since Dobbs, voters have consistently voiced their disapproval of this new status quo. Pennsylvanians took a firm stance, bucking the midterm odds and putting my party in the majority in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the first time in over a decade. The voters want freedom of choice.

Unfortunately, that freedom is already severely restricted in Pennsylvania. While the ironically named “Abortion Control Act of 1989” specifies that abortion is legal up to 24 weeks, it also includes numerous restrictions on choice, from spousal and parental notifications to waiting periods, to ridiculous limitations on the medical professionals capable of performing abortion. This law was also at the center of the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision of 1992, in which the Supreme Court upheld Roe while allowing for restrictions, provided they were not “undue burdens.” To have the right to choice protected only by a law so restrictive that the Supreme Court created a Constitutional test about the acceptability of abortion restrictions in response to it, a test which it failed, is not just ironic, it is completely unacceptable.

My bill, The Bodily Autonomy Act, H.B. 428, would repeal and replace the restrictive and malicious Abortion Control Act. This legislation would preserve necessary regulations to ensure abortions are performed safely, while removing the endless red tape the anti-choice zealots imposed two generations ago.

We cannot rely on others to protect our rights and preserve our bodily autonomy. We must enact the Bodily Autonomy Act now.