Shusterman introduces legislation to protect abortion rights

Bill comes after SCOTUS decision on EMTALA in Idaho

HARRISBURG, June 27 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester, is introducing legislation to further protect abortion rights in Pennsylvania after today’s dismissal by the United States Supreme Court of Moyle v. United States. This case addressed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act.

EMTALA was enacted by Congress in 1986 in response to the inappropriate inter-hospital transfer of patients in need of emergency care due to their lack of financial resources (patient dumping). A specific focus was dumping pregnant patients in active labor from one hospital to another. EMTALA requires hospitals to stabilize patients. Today’s U.S. Supreme Court dismissal reinstates the lower court’s order preventing Idaho from enforcing its ban of emergency abortions, except in the dire circumstances of saving the patient’s life. The case will still need to proceed in the lower courts.

Shusterman says the U.S. Supreme Court refused to decide whether state laws that restrict abortion can keep physicians, and the hospitals where they practice, from providing abortion as necessary emergency care to stabilize pregnant patients with emergency conditions. She said this delay by the court only reinforces the uncertainty and chaos in delivering emergency care to millions of Americans.

In response to this decision, Shusterman announced that she is introducing legislation that would strengthen Pennsylvania’s laws to ensure that ER doctors are able to provide medically necessary care to their patients no matter what the future brings for EMTALA at the federal level, or in the courts.

“We need to guarantee that all pregnant patients experiencing complications will be safe here in our commonwealth,” Shusterman said. “That’s why I’m introducing legislation to codify emergency abortion care protections in Pennsylvania. I’m proud to work with my colleagues as we continue to stand up to protect women's rights and reproductive health care all across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

During this legislative session, Shusterman has introduced several bills to enhance and protect access to reproductive medical care and abortion in Pennsylvania. Last November, Shusterman and Rep. Mary Jo Daley, D-Montgomery, worked to have House Bill 1786 pass with a bipartisan vote to protect individuals and medical providers from out-of-state prosecution for seeking and providing abortion services. That bill was moved to the state Senate Judiciary Committee and has not received any further consideration.

Shusterman has introduced these additional bills to safeguard abortion access and reproductive health care:

  • H.B.s 1192, 1193, 1194, & 1195: Provides funding for family planning service providers.
  • H.B.s 2056 & 2057: Adds abortion coverage to state employee insurance policies.
  • H.B. 2219: Adds abortion coverage for policies available through the Pennie Insurance Exchange.

Today, Shusterman circulated a memo announcing plans to introduce a bill that would remove the mandatory 24-hour waiting period and counseling requirements for abortion in Pennsylvania.

Shusterman says, “Together these bills are needed to ensure that women receiving care in the commonwealth face as little opposition as possible in achieving the reproductive health care they need.”